Still a little bit power pop and a little bit country pop, Foster and Lloyd reconvene in fine style.
From his obscure yet undeniably classic 1986 debut Feeling the Elephant forward, Kentucky-born and Nashville-based Bill Lloyd has developed a small but knowing rep among devotees of smart, rocking pop craftsmanship on a worldwide scale. Unfortunately, intelligently rendered power pop has historically failed to make for Top 40 gold since the Beatles supernova'd -- just ask Tommy Keene, Adam Schmitt or Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey. Lucky for Lloyd, then, that his hooking up with Radney Foster was a successful proposition in the country/pop scene of the late '80s.
On its surface, this -- the duo’s first effort since splitting in 1990 -- won’t upset the Slick Pop With Southern Accents apple cart that constitutes radio-friendly country music these days. Yet, even as the music and Foster’s trusty vocal twang reinforce the necessary tropes, it’s Lloyd’s affinity for arranging Rickenbacker-fueled melodies around tight, Everly Brothers-styled harmonies that ultimately sell these songs. A nicely nuanced balance is heartily achieved of uptempo tracks -- like the title cut and "Lucky Number" (co-written by Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson, who also plays bass throughout) -- with sawdust-scooting slowies like "If It Hadn’t Been for You". Also, lend an ear to "Picasso’s Mandolin", Foster and Lloyd’s collaboration with Guy Clark which also recalls the worthy portfolio of T-Bone Burnett (especially his early, funny ones).