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Love and Theft

Love and Theft

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Album Review

Three years after their 2009 debut World Wide Open, Love and Theft is now a duo of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, having lost Brian Bandas sometime in 2011. The departure of Bandas — who was placed prominently on the cover of World Wide Open, giving the impression that Liles and Gunderson are stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight — doesn't markedly change the sound of the group, who still specialize in sweet, soft country-pop. Unlike Rascal Flatts — an early and not inaccurate comparison and not just because they used to share a label, Lyric Street — Love and Theft never aim for arena bombast, not even when they try to rock & roll a little on "Girls Love to Shake It." They keep things crisp and clean, even finding a way to work in a whistling hook on "Inside Out," one of the sprightlier tunes here, and that cheerful, well-scrubbed persona is endearing even if it's never quite compelling. Then again, Love and Theft never attempt to be gripping: they rely on easy charm, slowly working their way into a listener's good graces, and this eponymous album functions similarly, seeming pleasant enough on first encounter, but with repeated exposure, all the amiability is ingratiating.

Biography

Formed: Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Pop-country trio Love and Theft fell into place in Nashville when singers and songwriters Eric Gunderson, Stephen Barker Liles, and Brian Bandas threw in together, taking turns singing lead while the other two sang gorgeous backing harmonies. Versatile, bright-sounding, and with a clear sense of pop-country arrangement, Love and Theft's live shows brought them an enthusiastic fan base. Working with producers Jeff Coplan and Robert Ellis Orrall, the trio released its debut album, World Wide Open,...
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Love and Theft, Love and Theft
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