Chase Rice

Ignite the Night

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Like the Ready Set Roll EP that preceded its release in 2013 (and which contains a few cuts that carried over to this full-length LP), 2014's Ignite the Night finds Chase Rice ready to embrace bro-country with a pair of open arms. As the co-writer of Florida Georgia Line's record-breaking smash "Cruise," this is perfectly within Rice's rights and he's a commercially savvy songwriter, playing with clich├ęs and crazes -- balancing songs about trucks, beer, beaches, "Jack Daniels & Jesus," "50 Shades of Crazy" -- with ease. Like FGL or Luke Bryan, Rice makes no apologies for being polished, brawny country-pop decorated with fleeting hip-hop allusions (he nearly raps on "Beer with the Boys") and sly electronic rhythms and flourishes (such as the Speak N Spell that opens "Ready Set Roll"). As a vocalist, he lacks Bryan's guy-next-door charm and beefcake camaraderie, and his lack of affectation winds up emphasizing how his music is happily generic, assembled out of familiar hooks and product placements that will make it feel right at home wherever contemporary country radio is played, whether it's a mall or a buffalo wings bar. That lack of a distinctive personality may (or may not) prevent Ignite the Night from being a huge hit in 2014, but there's little question that with its worn-in, comfortable hooks and odes to suburban masculinity, it's a veritable time capsule of the bro country era.

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