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RASCAL FLATTS Rascal Flatts Lyric Street Records (2008)

Rascal Flatts

Better known on the other side of the pond, Rascal's fifth album 'Still Feels Good' made the No.1 slot in the band's homeland. Now issued in expanded format, including 'What Hurts The Most' and 'Life Is A Highway' that originally appeared on the Cars soundtrack.

This album is an excellent introduction to the band and a chance to hear what all the fuss is about. Basically they are peddlers of radio-friendly country-rock tunes in the grand tradition of The Eagles and America in the slower bits, Huey Lewis in the faster ones, and - dare we say it - England Dan and John Ford Coley in the middle ground.

There's nothing here to offend: the recent US hit 'What Hurts The Most' is a good sampler, with plaintive violin and acoustic guitar motif developing into a full-blown power ballad. But there's more where that came from: 'Here', 'Help Me Remember', 'Bless The Broken Road', 'She Goes All The Way' and 'Better Now' tugging at the heart and, ultimately, the purse strings.

'Still Feels Good' and indeed the Cars track show that the band can rock out when necessary whilst 'No Reins' is classic American pop rock and gives The Cars (not the soundtrack) a run for their money.

Produced by Dann Huffs (whose credits include artists as diverse as Peter Cetera and Megadeth) this is a superbly rounded album that avoids sugar in the ballads and with enough beef in the more upbeat tracks. Nashville-based and country in spirit, but you don't have to get on your high horse to appreciate this.


Review by David Randall

GRTR! Recommended

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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