The JaneDear Girls – [Album]

Monday, 21 February 2011

Some things never go out of style after they first come in. If one looks at The Dixie Chicks, for example, it's possible to notice that each successive release since  the band's breakthrough Shouldn't a Told You That in 1993 has been rapturously received and even side projects like Courtyard Hounds have done well. Likewise, while the performers' names and faces may change, girlie pop acts have been doing well since the advent of pop music as (in this writer's lifetie alone) Tiffany, The Spice Girls, Avril Lavigne, Hannah Montana  and dozens of others have been introduced, made a fortune and been replaced with the next girlie-pop permutation which follows the exact same arc over again. In that second case, there's never exactly a rhyme of reason to what breaks out (Girl Power? Sk8r Boi-pining pop punk? Country pop? Who can find a connection other than a cute girl?) but, when it does, it's the next big thing that every 'tween girl knows every note and every word of – so why not The JaneDear Girls?

Presented as the next big thing out of the heartland, The JaneDear Girls intermingle and mix the great sounds of New Country from the last fifteen years (Reba McEntire, Leann Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain) on their self-titled debut with a healthy dose of youth and excitement that will be able to simultaneously hook both those 'tween girls looking for something new to call their own and their moms – who might remember their mothers before them singing lovingly along with Shania and Reba on the kitchen radio. Is it canny and calculated? It doesn't seem to be, it just happens to work out that way – which makes the record that much more endearing.

From the opening of “Wildflower,” JaneDear Girls make their bid for 'tween appeal with some back home kicks and simple summertime joys (check out lines like “The boys all rubberneck while they're out makin' hay” and “Runnin' barefoot in a summer shower/Ponytail dancin' I can't help it if I'm a wildflower”) that don't come off as contrived, they just ring perfectly for the market and the countrified electric guitar licks supplied by guitarist Danelle Leverett (who also supplies half the vocals beside fiddle player Susie Brown) seem guaranteed to get some girls shaking their hair defiantly down in from of their eyes. With that mark etched in, the duo digs in a whole deeper with songs like the “Shotgun Girl,” “Merry Go Round” (which puts more country into the equation that Hannah Montana turned out with “Hoedown Throwdown”), “Sing Along” (which would have topped charts when Shania Twain was telling listeners about the woman in her, and could easily do the same now), “Never Gonna Let You Go” (which mixes a bit of Wallflowers, a bit of Lisa Loeb and a bit of The Dixie Chicks) and “Lucky You” (which is equal parts Avril pop-punk, “Everlasting Love” and Top 40 country), and does it so well that the duo will indubitably have little girls asking their parents for a fine set of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat rather than that princess dress hanging in the window of their favorite store.

Beyond that, while the amount of Country which would appeal more to Mom and Dad is fairly spare (“Sugar,” “Saturdays In September” and “Every Day's A Holiday” are about as close as it gets), hints and flecks of history do glimmer throughout JaneDear Girls' run-time which implies that this music is genuinely built upon tradition, but sounds the way it does because the record was made by fresh blood and hands. It works out pretty well and, if the girls get some limelight, it'll be interesting to see where they go next.



The JaneDear Girls' self-titled debut is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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