Once a reliable source of lustrous country-soul ballads such as "Need You Now" and "Just a Kiss," Lady Antebellum roughed up its sound a bit for last year's up-tempo "Golden," which paid off neither artistically nor commercially. So you can understand the trio's recruitment here of producer Nathan Chapman, best known for his hit-making work with Taylor Swift.
But if Chapman restores some of Lady Antebellum's polish, he still keeps the group moving too fast with zippy pop-country arrangements that rarely allow Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott to harmonize as sumptuously as they're able. And at a moment when every second song on country radio is about throwing back a cold one, another elegant weeper like "Need You Now" might've gone further than the ho-hum "Bartender" to set Lady Antebellum apart from the pack.
1.5 stars (out of four)