Real-life couple duets carry an honorable tradition in country music. Who could forget the flirtatious sparring of Carter/Cash, the hard-times love of Jones/Wynette or swooning of Hill/McGraw? But rarely does a married couple enter into a musical partnership quite like Keifer and Shawna Thompson, aka Thompson Square. After two respective solo careers failed to catch fire, the Thompsons are now a full-time personal and professional team with a debut record.
The lead single and hit, Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not, shows off a good bit of what makes the duo fun. There's an infectious melody with ace guitar chops and sharp harmonies on the chorus. But what makes them truly stand out is their world-view about love. They clearly believe that a couple can challenge each other to be better, happy and whole (I Got You, My Kind of Crazy). It's a refreshing advance for a genre in which singers often pine for their spouse just to be sober to ask questions like Thompson Square does on "Who Loves Who More?" and "Would You Drive My Getaway Car?"
Slower tracks on this set can occasionally get dull (If It Takes All Night) or self-important (Glass). Also, vocally, Keifer's rocker stylings frequently win the face-offs against the higher warble of his wife. But that may be the recording. Seek out some of their live clips online and you may come away thinking that the production team didn't capture all Shawna's voice can do with this record. Or maybe they're just getting better, as they keep telling us that married folks often do.