April 21, 1997 12:00 PM

Big House

Ever since Alabama started racking up hits back in 1980, country music has boasted a wealth of good-lookin’, good-harmonizin’ guy groups—Lonestar, BR5-49 and Ricochet…even the Kentucky Head-Hunters are tuning up for a comeback. But Big House, a Bakersfield, Calif., sextet, has a debut CD so full-speed-ahead that other chart contenders could be left eating their dust.

Fronted by singer-songwriter Monty Byrom, Big House has an infectious sound owing more to the Eagles—with a little Stealers Wheel thrown in—than to the aforementioned acts. Opening with the chugging, cynical “You Ain’t Lonely Yet,” the boys rock through the deliciously raunchy come-on “Cold Outside” (“Get a little lovin’ in the oven/ Sugar pie in the pan/1 know what you got cookin’ baby/ I’m a hungry man”). With several Don Henley-esque ballads, the blues funk of “Soul Country” and the irresistible head-out-on-the-highway anthem “Blue Train” rounding out the package, this high-octane CD finds the group breezing toward a sunny future. (MCA Nashville)

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