Despite being such a staple sound in the United States for decades, country music has slowly started to work its way into a more international scope in the last few years. Acts like First Aid Kit have reinvented the genre for a global audience, and Ward Thomas currently sit as the UK's biggest export of the sound. Returning after the critical-acclaim that followed their sophomore studio album 'Cartwheels' back in 2016, the Hampshire-based duo now have their sights set on the mainstream as they return with a very accessible third album in the form of 'Restless Minds'.
When you first switch on to this new release, it is hard to see why many would consider this country music. But much like Taylor Swift who began life in the genre before moving it towards a more pop-friendly environment, Ward Thomas are now at that stage where they feel like bringing a little more gusto to their chosen sound. But while they are clearly keen to move in a more glossy direction, the tone of this record continuously flips back and forth between a more classic country music intention and their newfound concept, making this a rather disjointed collection at times.
While there is still plenty to enjoy on here, the overall feel of this release seems a little unclear. It is obvious that the pair are looking to try and experiment with their sound at the moment, but with a lack of a cohesive and succinct direction, 'Restless Minds' just falls short of what the band have been producing so far.