Thu, Aug 6, 2009 (midnight)
Pop-country quartet Gloriana is about as far as you can get from genuine country music and still manage airplay on country radio, but the group’s main problem is that the songs on its self-titled debut album are generic in the extreme, overproduced and timid, obliterating any sense of personality or musicianship the members might possess.
Gloriana’s makeup of two male and two female vocalists has drawn comparisons to similarly composed quartet Little Big Town, but LBT’s lush, intricate harmonies are several leagues ahead of Gloriana’s simpler vocal arrangements. The four singers are all capable but indistinct, and the production from pop-rock veteran Matt Serletic (best known for his work with Matchbox Twenty) doesn’t do anything to distinguish them.
Gloriana is clearly shooting for the Taylor Swift audience, but as poppy as Swift may be, she also has a clear point of view, something missing from Gloriana’s trite, interchangeable lyrics. There are far too many saccharine ballads here, and only on album closer “Time to Let Me Go,” the one song written by the band members themselves, is there any hint of country grit or authenticity. This is disposable pop music with a slight twang, and pretty forgettable pop music at that.