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Chase Rice

The Album Part II – 2020 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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Chase Rice has embraced Nashville's new business model of releasing music more frequently. Rice's EP "The Album Part II" will combine with the surprise seven-song January release of "Part I." Rice said, "The Album Part II only has four songs, so it's really easy for people to go check out all four songs. They're all very different."

The issue with incrementally releasing music, especially in the EP format, is a lack of cohesion. At just over a scant 12 minutes, there is not a whole lot of time to decide if you might want to buy "Part I." And these songs do not seem to flow together. They very much stand on their own stylistically and thematically. The only song he does not have a writing credit on is the nostalgia anthem, "Down Home Runs Deep."

The opener begins with a soft piano. and goes into a stronger romp. The drinking/break up hybrid "Break.Up.Drunk" is one that Rice admits "It's the want to hear in my truck." It is short on lyrical finesse, but redeemed by a traditional sound with banjos and double-time twang. The others bear his contemporary sound and are sonically in line with his earlier efforts. the closer "Belong" reflects the unprecedented times we now face. Ironically, it is the highlight of the collection and almost did not make the final cut.

"Part I" has a more contemporary feel and a bit of a Sam Hunt vibe. The question is if these four songs are enough of a tease for fans to purchase it. Or get the full album whenever it is released. It is a bit of a gamble, but a strategy reflective of these turbulent times.