In their new album ‘Pioneer,’ The Band Perry, a trio of siblings, has stepped out of their comfort zone and embraced an edgier sound. The band’s sophomore record moves past the innocence of its first effort and into more beat-heavy and darker tracks, allowing lead singer Kimberly Perry to solidify her place in the ranks of country-rocker chicks such as Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. On the band’s eponymous first album, Kimberly croons “I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom” on the ever-popular “If I Die Young”. This song is paralleled on ‘Pioneer’ with the album’s lead single “Better Dig Two,” a banjo-plucking ballad that is also about death, but approaches it in a much different way, with Kimberly serenading her lover — “If you go before I do, I’m gonna tell the grave digger that he better dig two.” While “If I Die Young” is the innocent anthem of The Band Perry’s debut, “Better Dig Two” is the story of their crossover into fast-paced country rock. And rock is one thing The Band Perry does well. A standout is “Forever Mine Nevermind,” a track that opens with a Queen-style chorus of “na na’s” and progresses into a drum and electric guitar-heavy chorus with lyrics about the end of a relationship. In the band’s newest single “DONE”, Kimberly shouts, “Mama always told me I should play nice/She didn’t know you when she gave me that advice” and shows listeners that she can get down and dirty. Returning to its roots, the band produces a fantastic melodious ballad in title track “Pioneer,” which reminds me of the original Band Perry. As with every album, there are a few sour notes. “I’m a Keeper” is tiring, with just a little bit too much going on, and “Mother Like Mine”, while sweet when sung by the siblings, falters in the chorus and seems to strain Kimberly’s voice. Overall, however, I was pleasantly surprised by ‘Pioneer.’ The band’s first album was good, but the overuse of metaphorical language and the similar sounding songs made me tire of it quickly. ‘Pioneer,’ on the other hand, offers a larger variety of sounds, and upon listening it wasn’t difficult for me to distinguish one track from another. Simply put, steering away from the band’s album because you were put off by the two lead singles would be a heinous crime. I enjoy the band’s transition into country rock — the group has the musical skills and Kimberly has the pipes to make it work. Fans of The Band Perry and country music lovers in general will certainly enjoy.