- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

Lady Antebellum, “747” (Capitol Nashville)

Lady Antebellum took off at jet speed with back-to-back multi-platinum albums in 2008 and 2010. Since then, while continuing to score radio hits, the trio’s sales leveled out and started drifting downward.

The group’s fifth album, “747,” sounds like a concerted effort to head back toward the stratosphere. After a couple of uneven albums, “747” has a cohesive, celebratory feel that brings out the best in members Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott.

Landing on a sound all its own, Lady Antebellum presents pop-flavored, adult-oriented country music that stands out from Nashville’s party-all-the-time male singers and the hard-edged, aggressive female stars. The inter-weaving voices of Scott and Kelley have a buoyancy and maturity that returns on “747,” an album that ranks with the trio’s previous best, 2010’s “Need You Now.”

The first single, “Bartender,” is a grown-up take on country music’s current obsession with hard drinking. But the album has better songs: the beautifully sensual “Damn You Seventeen,” the musically and vocally complex “Down South,” the sultry, spiritual “One Great Mystery” and the yearning “Lie With Me,” which makes good use of the clever double-entendre in the title and chorus.

With “747,” Haywood, Scott and Kelley find their own distinctive path, once again. Long may they fly.

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