Towards the end of “Livin’ The Dream” there’s a track called “More To It”. On it, The Wolfe Brothers merrily and cleverly poke fun at the country cliché. “We don’t all sit around talking about the weather” they sing, “and some high school sweethearts grow up old and bitter” is one of its best lines. It’s a fine song. Typical of the album in that its expertly played and so catchy that they probably sell creams for it at the pharmacy.

In fact, the only way its not typical of the album is that all the other 11 songs explore exactly the same country cliches that all the other major artists do – and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. Especially not when its done as well as this.

It’s over a decade now since they won Australia’s Got Talent and spent ten years as the backing band and opening act for Lee Kernaghan. They’ve learned from the Aussie legend and the figures speak for themselves: Three #1 and two #2 ARIA Country charting albums, 17 consecutive #1 singles on the National Radio Chart, and Six Golden Guitars under the belt so far making them the most awarded country rock duo ever in Australia.

And this collection is going to do the same. It’s designed to do the same.

Written by the brothers in lockdown, over zoom, from their family farm in Tasmania with some of the top country writers in the world, quite simply there is nothing not to like here.

“Put The House On It”. The album has a mix of upbeat tracks celebrating the American dream, blue-collar life, and good times. The use of the word “American” was deliberate too. This is as American as it gets, never mind where they’re from. To paraphrase Shooter Jennings, “country ain’t about where you’re from, its about where you’re at.”

So “Livin’ The Dream” ,keeps the same theme but focuses on the blue-collar life of hard work and determination. “All In Good Time” changes the vibe, it  could have been written by the Rolling Stones, with its classic rock feel and driving guitar riffs and no one is hiding it. “Here’s To The Ones” celebrates the women of the world and the important role they play, it’ll be an anthem. It is supposed to be.

Right in the middle of this The Shires appear for “Love Like That” (written with Lindsay Ell) and it’s the most Shires thing ever. I saw them about this time last year and it was impossible not to smile, try it with this, I dare you.

“Nothing Better To Me” has a contented feel – but then everything here does – with an ’80s school disco vibe, every song on Top Of The Pops in 1985 sounded like this. “New Dog, Old Tricks” is driven by its harmonica and adds a bluesy feel. “She’s My Rock” resonated with me for two reasons: one it talks about waking up the neighbours with your music and given that’s well after 1am as I type this, mine might agree, and second, any song that namechecks AC/DC will do well with me.

Elsewhere, “Sundown Somewhere” is a mid-paced rocker that showcases the band’s ability to write and perform catchy hooks, “Empty Pockets”, looks at death and what you leave behind, with a warmth and a stoicism and “Diamond In A Dive Bar” is a pop tinged funky track with hooks that will stick in your head for days.

It doesn’t matter what I say about The Wolfe Brothers, this will be streamed in the millions and pick up awards everywhere, but it deserves them. As polished and classy as it gets, this is the sound of a band that loves what it does, doesn’t want anything else and is damn good at it.

That’s not a dream, either, that’s the reality.

Rating 8/10

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