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Warren Brothers

Beautiful Day In The Cold Cruel World – 1998 (BNA)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Warren Brothers

This Tampa-bred sibling duo crafted a debut that sounds like nothing else on country radio today. More a pop album than anything else, they utilize harmonies to couch sometimes sad songs in sweet melodies.

In an extremely unusual feat for a debut act, The Warrens wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs, and there's not a clunker among them. It is the serious stuff that listeners will notice first, ballads like "Better Man," and "Greyhound Bus." They are equally adept at midtempo, John Mellencamp-like rockers like, "The Enemy," or "Surviving Emily," and the catchy refrain of "She Wants To Rock" could be a dancefloor crowd pleaser. The title track is a sobering tale set to a "sha-la-la" refrain, of gritty, unavoidable reality juxtaposed against the ordinary joys of most people's ordinary lives. It is a memorable lyric that stays with you long after the rest of the album's likable but less vivid country-pop.

The problem with many New Country artists isn't that they are too pop-oriented; the song quality isn't there to support the sound, which usually comes out sounding like bad light-rock. While more Hootie than Hank, The Warren Brothers manage to have both a contemporary sound and quality songwriting to make it work.