The ever-so-happily married Keifer and Shawna Thompson, equal halves of the duo Thompson Square, wasted no time taking the world by storm on their debut record. That disc went on to spawn 2011's most-played song on country radio, Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not
. The curse of the sophomore jinx looms large, and many bands have fallen trying to hammer out a follow-up while navigating newfound stardom. Not, however, these two.
Thompson Square has put together yet another bouncy set of country guitar licks laced with easygoing harmonies. The songs celebrate love in all its superpowers: gravity (Here We Go Again), destiny (You Don't Get Lucky) and ecstasy (Just Feels Good).
It certainly makes for a quick pick-me-up on the listener, especially with the irresistible opener, Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About. Another heartfelt track, I Can't Outrun You, scores as the best ballad in the bunch. The Thompsons have enormous self-awareness of their strengths and avoid straying far. They're most potent with songs where Keifer sings lead and Shawna harmonizes, rather than the reverse. Although in full disclosure, the first single If I Didn't Have You flips that formula successfully.
Some country purists might shout "whoah" on the mild rap attempt of Testing the Water or how the proceedings wheeze and repeat themselves closer to the finish line. But it's hard to dispute that this couple has taken inspiration from their beautiful music together.