Eli Young Band

10,000 Towns

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The Eli Young Band hail from Texas but if their fourth album, 10,000 Towns, is any indication, their heart lies in Nashville. Not quite country bros but also a far cry from the weathered country-rockers working the Texas circuit, the Eli Young Band are a decade into their career and playing like seasoned professionals -- pros savvy enough to know when to cop a turn or two from such hot properties as Florida Georgia Line without outright mimicking. "Dust" is as clean, clear, and melodic as anything on modern country radio in 2014, as are the better, poppier songs here: "Your Last Broken Heart" is similarly measured and well constructed and "Just Add Moonlight" carries a sense of anthemic urgency in its chorus not entirely dissimilar to LeAnn Rimes' classic Coyote Ugly theme, "Can't Fight the Moonlight." Elsewhere on 10,000 Towns, the Eli Young Band get a little funky ("Revelations") and introspective ("Angel Like You," "Prayer for the Road"), but their strength lies in the sweeter stuff, how they can make crossover country-pop that seems amiable but never cloying.

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