It's understandable why some Kylie fans might not be happy with her change of musical direction on new album Golden, but then SexKylie and IndieKylie both had their detractors and the dance-pop sound Miss Minogue has favoured since 2000's Light Years was beginning to get a bit samey by the time Kiss Me Once rolled around in 2014.
To these ears, then, Golden's country and western flavour is a breath of fresh air, with so many catchy tunes that will be be lodged firmly in your brain by the second or third listen.
CountryKylie wasn't a planned reinvention. Golden started out as another dance-pop album until Minogue's manager suggested introducing a C&W element so she flew to Nashville to cut some tracks.
She's described it as Dolly Parton-style confessions on a dancefloor, but it's more Shania Twain than Dolly P with plenty of twanging guitars and big choruses – never more so than on the fabulous 'Raining Glitter' (with its oft-repeated 'Whoop!'s) as well as lead singles 'Dancing' and 'Stop Me From Falling'.
And it's not really a confessional. Despite saying she found co-writing all the songs therapeutic, her lyrics don't go deep into the pain she must have felt when she and fiancé Joshua Sasse split last year.
Mostly she's in an upbeat mood, like on the ace title track with its Spaghetti Western backing vocals, and while she sings about being brokenhearted on 'A Lifetime To Repair' the song has such a jolly fiddle-fuelled swagger I can already envision a yee-haw dance routine from her forthcoming tour.
Likewise 'Sincerely Yours', which strays from country terrain into Aphrodite-style anthemics and is sure to be a showstopper on stage.
Add the driving rhythms of 'One Last Kiss' and the euphoric pop of 'Raining Glitter' (surely the next single?) and there's a nary a dull moment, except maybe for the Jack Savoretti duet 'Music's Too Sad Without You' that closes the standard edition - a ballad that shows even cowgirls get the blues. Their voices go well together but the song itself is a bit nondescript, to be honest.
Still, for the most part boot-scootin' CountryKylie has found a nice new niche - and she's a lot of fun to hang around with.
Words: Simon Button