Average User Score: 8.3Sep 11, 2012"Tornado" takes everything that the prodigiously talented Little Big Town does--stellar harmonies, authentic genre mixing and potent"Tornado" takes everything that the prodigiously talented Little Big Town does--stellar harmonies, authentic genre mixing and potent storytelling--and gives the listener 11 distinctive tracks that completely captivate. They really get that mix of rock, country, blues and soul just right and it never sounds like a gimmick. "Pavement Ends" is a rollicking and rousing opener that leads right into the funky laid back groove of "Pontoon," thus getting the party started right. "Sober" is highlighted by the enchanting lead vocal of Kimberly Schlapman, while "Front Porch Thing" works out a confident blues/rock jam. "Leavin' in Your Eyes" plays off a jazzy beat, with a kind of call and response chorus that I found particularly appealing. The band slows down on the stark ballad "Your Side of the Bed"--a song that effectively illustrates a troubled relationship. "On Fire Tonight" is an exhilarating kick in the pants that also manages to invite a soulful jam into the mix. On the powerful "Self Made" Little Big Town assures us that they can rock with the best of them. As good as all those songs are, perhaps the 3 best songs on the album accentuate just how in the zone Little Big Town is on this recording. The title track is quite simply a masterpiece of song craft. The nexus of effective symbolism, formidable beat and a fierce lead vocal performance by Karen Fairchild is astonishing. The song feels like a spaghetti Western and this cowgirl means business--it's fantastic. The band turns haunting on the almost meditative "Can't Go Back"--a track that proves why Little Big Town deserves to wear their unmatched 4 part harmonies as a badge of honor. Utilizing minimal instrumentation and focusing on the band's dulcet vocals, what results is one of the prettiest sounding ballads in recent memory. Lastly, there is the unexpected and completely stunning "Night Owl," which finds the band singing in gender specific, call and response tandems. Again they employ simple instrumentation and their mellifluous voices are at the forefront. The song feels like a lullaby calming us from the varied experiences of the 10 prior tracks, thus making it a fitting conclusion.
I spoke a little about each track because this is an album where no song acts as filler. Each is rich, detailed and highly individual. "Tornado" is the antithesis of repetition. Yet, the tracks all work well together because their focus never strays from all the goodies that lie within the foursome's toolbox, which means I am finishing where I began. "Tornado" is Little Big Town flexing their muscles and the results are thrilling.… Expand