Out Today: Sugarland

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SUGARLAND
The Incredible Machine
(Mercury)

When did Jimmy Buffett become the patron saint of country music? From Kenny Chesney to the Zac Brown Band, Mr. Margaritaville’s sun, sand, and suds ethos has permeated nearly every corner of landlocked Nashville over the past few years. After occasional dips into Buffett’s pool on 2008’s Love on the Inside, Sugarland come to shore on their fourth album, The Incredible Machine. It’s the duo’s loosest and most engaging record, filled with country-pop songs that rarely reach too far outside of their comfort zone. The group’s best singles (“Stay,” “Already Gone”) twist tender narratives around Jennifer Nettles’ twangy voice. The Incredible Machine’s songs are more direct, a reflection of their big hooks. From the U2-sized stadium stomp of the title track to the front-porch accordion swing of “Stuck Like Glue,” this is the sound of a band finding its footing. And thankfully they’re finding it on solid ground. —Michael Gallucci

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