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Mountains Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Lonestar's 2005 album Coming Home may not have been as big a hit as its 2004 predecessor, Let's Be Us Again, but it was still a hit, so there was no reason for the quartet to change their formula on their seventh album, 2006's Mountains. If anything, on this album the group takes fewer risks than ever, smoothing out any remaining rough edges and keeping things clean, to the point where they even warn their lover to be "Careful Where You Kiss Me." It may be safe and measured, but Lonestar never claimed to be roughnecks, so this isn't something unexpected; rather, they're just following their natural, logical path. And if unsympathetic ears might find that path a little dull, longtime fans will undoubtedly find it comforting, since Lonestar delivers the goods as promised every time out. Of course, there's a fine line separating reliability and predictability -- one is reassuring, the other is repetitive -- and Mountains may come a little too close to the latter. The band sounds as friendly as ever, covering all their by-now familiar themes of love and family and faith, but beneath the crisp, immaculate production, not many songs take hold. It all glides by smoothly, easing from one earnest midtempo cut to another. There isn't much to distinguish one song from the other -- the uptempo tunes never break a sweat, so they don't feel all that different from the numerous love ballads here -- but the execution is so expert and the group so sweet-natured, it's hard to complain, particularly if you're a fan just looking for another dose of Lonestar. And that's what the group serves up with a smile on Mountains -- a good-hearted, utterly professional, utterly predictable record, one that's certain to please fans without managing to bother anybody else.

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