"You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love longs / But I look around me and I see it isn't so," sang Paul McCartney, recording 35 years ago with his band Wings. Whatever else it does, Keith Urban's new "Get Closer" certainly tests the durability of Sir Paul's blithe observation. The eight love songs on this brief CD - barely 33 minutes long - are by no means silly, but they are unabashed and apparently born of Urban's marital contentment with wife Nicole Kidman, to whom he includes a gratitude-steeped valentine in the record's liner notes.
"I don't know where I'd be without you," Urban croons in "Right on Back to You," an expansive ballad that opens with nearly a minute of languorous electric-guitar work. He echoes this sentiment on the banjo-flecked "Without You," another ballad, one in which he sings of finding a soul mate without whom his other consuming passions - guitars and fast cars - would mean nothing.
Five of the album's remaining six tracks are of the up- or mid-tempo variety, their brawny guitars and meaty production mitigating Urban's at times gushing lyrics. "Put You in a Song," the record's first single, features lots of twanging guitar, while "You Gonna Fly" mixes hard-rock riffing with banjo and resonator guitar to nicely textured effect. All of which is to say: If you're not in the mood for love, the music here - highly burnished country-rock - affords pleasures of its own.
Recommended tracks: "You Gonna Fly," "Shut Out the Lights"