Leann Rimes - Family

Bruce Turnbull 06/12/2007

Rating: 4/5

I've always had a soft spot for female fronted rock - or 'chick rawk' as most ignorant Americans have dubbed it in the past - but one name I never took to was LeAnn Rimes. Primarily because she was always associated better with the mainstream chart than Meredith Brooks or Alanis Morissette, but with her new opus 'Family', Rimes has kicked the guitars up a notch and delivered a quality product. And I certainly didn't see it coming. With my penchant for cowboy boots firmly in place, I found solace in Rimes' quirky, country-laced brand of melodic rock that positively bleeds honesty with a voice that speaks from the heart and plucks all of the strings on its many journeys up and down.

Her worldwide exultation for her 'Blue' album and humongous Coyote Ugly connection is rightly justified with this collection of melodious wonder as this is without a doubt the most adult offering she has produced thus far. Her staunch delivery on lead single 'Nothing Better to Do' betrays her fragile fa├žade on 'Fight' - which is the most affecting ballad on here - and the opening title track, which is even catchier, fills the gap between the two, offering pathos and elation in equal measures. The production is typically squeaky clean and the performance from each musician is resolute, backing up her monstrous vocal talents with differing extents of vigour. The anthemic strains of 'Something I Can Feel' is the album's crowning moment, with a hook Kelly Clarkson will be stealing post haste, and being one of the rockier tracks on offer, it really shakes up proceedings. Never thought I'd hear myself playing LeAnn Rimes over Elvenking much this winter, but there it is. Hate mail's in the post?