Riser is a perfect example of what makes Dierks Bentley a true country modernist. The epic, unfolding cinematic atmospheres of "Bourbon in Kentucky" and "I Hold On" suggest a Music City-bred version of U2, while the "whoa-oh-oh" hooks of "Pretty Girls" are pure ’10s pop and "Sounds of Summer" is propelled by R&B-informed beats. But the bare-bones acoustic ballad "Damn These Dreams" and the banjo-inflected, party-hearty stomper "Back Porch" show that for all his forward-looking ways, Bentley never loses sight of his roots.

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