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updated: 7/31/2012 6:22 AM

A step forward, a step back for Gloriana

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  • "A Thousand Miles Left Behind" by Gloriana

    "A Thousand Miles Left Behind" by Gloriana

Associated Press

Gloriana, "A Thousand Miles Left Behind" (Emblem/Reprise/Warner Bros.)

Nashville trio Gloriana, rebounding from the departure of fourth member Cheyenne Kimball, manage to make their sparkling musical arrangements and sweet harmonies come across more engagingly than ever on their second album, "A Thousand Miles Left Behind."

Still working an acoustic-based string sound made contemporary through rhythms and musical accents, Rachel Reinert and brothers Mike and Tom Gossin prove that losing Kimball's instrumental virtuosity doesn't slow down their musical growth.

However, another new development does hamper their forward movement. Group members co-wrote all 11 songs after contributing only one song to their 2009 self-titled debut. The step proves a bigger challenge than they can handle.

Their potential as songwriters comes through on the album's best cuts, including "(Kissed You) Good Night," written by Tom Gossin and Josh Kear--and Gloriana's first top 10 country hit. Mike Gossin's "Turn My World Around" and Reinert's "Where My Heart Belongs" also connect by conveying real emotions.

But the autobiographical nature of several lyrics -- such as "Sunset Lovin"' and "Go On . Miss Me" -- fails to transform intimate experiences into universal themes. The trio's sound is golden, but some of the songs need more polish.

Check this out: "Can't Shake You" employs a simmering electric guitar riff and gently insistent rhythm to create a sound that is steamier and more mature than most of "A Thousand Miles Left Behind."

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