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The McClymonts

Wrapped Up Good – 2011 (BSM Music)

Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln

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CDs by The McClymonts

If we were living on Australia time, this second album from the McClymont sisters-three would already be old news. It came out there in January 2010, snapping up awards in the process. Of course, planning American invasions takes time.

For this outing they brought in assistants with downright gaudy success - a producer with a mountain of (mostly Disney teen pop) success and a Taylor Swift MVP (producer Nathan Chapman). While locking in likeability up to a point, the risk any artist runs with that strategy is trying too hard.

Kick it Up starts things off with amped-up guitars celebrating the ultimate weekend party (seek out the video for a lesson in clever filmmaking on a low budget as well). True, the writers did shoplift the Dixie Chicks Some Days You Gotta Dance triple-note fiddle burst - but no one appears to have gotten hurt. The title track's pure pop confection follows, with hooks and harmonies enough for several modern country songs. One quickly learns that Brook McClymont delivers the vocal heavy hitting. And an honest lyrical gem pokes through from time to time ("I Want You to Want Me/Like You Can't Have Me" or "This Is My New Philosophy/Happiness Is All Inside of Me").

There's really not an unlistenable track in the bunch, but the mix loses its bearings by the shine of its own pop polish. It's hard to find, at least in the singing, much indelible emotional tie (think Faith Hill) to the songs the girls croon otherwise effectively. They prove hands-down they know how to have fun.

But oddities like positive anthems to stalking He Used to Love Me and I'm Not Done With You Just Yet, or what a hellion Momma was Cannonball leave one more puzzled than amused. At least as an album, it's missing a sense of cohesion, and the sibling songwriting needs more universal connection. Crossing the ocean is just the first part in winning over American hearts.