Summary

Cheyenne Kimball, the singer who launched her career on America's Most Talented Kid and thereby gave Gloriana a little bit of a marquee draw, left the country-pop group in 2011, leaving the band as a trio of Rachel Reinert, Mike Gossin, and Tom Gossin -- a lineup that can't help but recall such currently popular trios as the Band Perry and Lady Antebellum. In particular, the sweet sound of the latter echoes throughout Gloriana's A Thousand Miles Left Behind, the group's sophomore set and first without Kimball. Perhaps the three-piece harmonies aren't quite as lush as those on their eponymous 2009 album but the overall sound has been brightened and streamlined, all the better to emphasize the group's irrepressible good cheer. Producer Matt Serletic -- best known for his chart-topping work with Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas, and Collective Soul -- is back on board and he keeps proceedings bright and clear, using backwoods instrumentation like banjos and harmonicas as mere rural flair on what at its core is a melodic adult pop album. As insistent as the sound is, the songs take some time to ease their way into memory; they don't grab and hold -- not even the stomping rocking country -- but they're ingratiating in their cozy comfort. Some of this plays as a little calculated -- there's not much need for a group as fuzzy as Gloriana to indulge in a bit of patented patriotism like "Soldier Song" -- but that crowd-pleasing instinct is integral to the appeal of A Thousand Miles Left Behind: this is a group that knows how to hit its marks, following the script with precision and without a wasted gesture. They may not dazzle but they get the job done. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine