Little Big Town - Nightfall
Much like their contemporaries, Lady Antebellum, the new album from Little Big Town signals a return to something more akin to their country roots than their most recent output. 2016's Pharrell Williams pop-dance sidetrack, Wanderlust, is reduced to a footnote already, and while 2017's The Breaker is a particular favourite here at TDF, it does lean heavily into pop. On Nighfall, the band are back in the country, both musically and lyrically. In many ways it's a brave record with the production lightened and the groups vocal harmonies back to the fore.
'Next To You' sets the tone with Fairchild, Schlapman, Westbrook and Sweet dominating with their vocals before leaving the track build to its crescendo. It's like that throughout, perfectly balanced between the quartet's core strengths: those harmonies, their way with a melody, and their ear for building a soundscape. Whether it's the arena-ready 'Over Drinking', which is country to its core, 'Wine, Beer, Whiskey' which is a love it/hate it type of song (we love it!), the beautiful acoustics of 'Throw Your Love Away' or the piano-led 'Problem Child' talking to outsiders, the band show their strengths.
What lifts Nighfall higher than most of their previous output is its authenticity and heart, and the currency of the two standout tracks. In a world where equality, wokeness, and fairness are still being challenged, it takes some courage for a band of the profile and genre of Little Big Town to include songs with lines like " Girl, know your place, be willing and able", " I've heard of God the Son and God the Father / I'm still looking for a God for the daughters " on 'The Daughters', and the whole content and intent of 'Sugar Coat'. More power to them, and we can only hope more big-name acts wear their hearts on their sleeves.