Reigning Sound: a little more time with the Reigning Sound album review
On their 1995 album Soul food, which appears to have been recorded in a deep fryer, Greg Cartwright’s former band The Oblivians released a song with an n-bomb in its title. The Oblivians were mainstays of Memphis garage-punk, and Soul food sums up their scene: White lords singing the rebellion that pushes the boundaries of Little Richard and Ike Turner regardless of the racist conditions that gave early rock ‘n’ roll its sense of hopelessness. So what to do with a garage rocker when it gets past people’s need to push buttons? With Reigning Sound, Cartwright has spent the years focusing on crafting rather than provocation: slowing down and shaping songs that tend to sound like well-chosen covers of obscure garage gems, soul, and girl group. .
On the warm and carefully arranged new album A little more time with the sound that reigns, Cartwright reunites with Jeremy Scott, Greg Roberson and Alex Greene – Reigning Sound’s “Memphis line”, which helped kick-start the group’s growth by layering the singer-songwriter’s melancholy into Cartwright’s usually hectic garage rock in 2005 Home for orphans. In the decade and a half since this album, Cartwright worked in different studios with fluctuating lineup. In 2011, Abdication … for your love was produced in part by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Reigning Sound’s latest album, 2014 Bursts, was recorded at Daptone studios. Like Reigning Sound’s best work, the Daptone / Auerbach assembly line circulates in some kind of amalgamated American music, and the results should have been a match made in cool daddy’s heaven, but on these albums, the typically clever songs from Cartwright and the sincere voice were lost. in overworked production.
A bit more time is the culmination of a long process of maturation. The seasoned songwriter brings his well-honed gifts back to Memphis, reunites old friends and records on 8 tracks, making a record that looks more like a band standing close together in a room than a guy. renting time in a studio with Serious. American music presets on the equipment. A son Home for orphansRuminative, slower songs are the ones that really shine, living in the sweet spot between ointment-smooth rock’n’roll, festive ’60s soul and glowing country gold. Cartwright wrote much of this album at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown last year, and the songs are made to look out the window as cigarette smoke turns to vapor from your coffee. On the single “Oh Christine,” Cartwright abandons the hurt howl of Foghorn Leghorn that blew in the band’s early albums for a ’70s Dylan singer. A Muscle Shoals-style lyrical solo guitar guides the band through the verse and the pre-chorus before placing the hook on a bed of keys. Other highlights include the swirling strings and organ supporting ‘I’ll Be Your Man’, and the constant build and swell of ‘Just Say When’, a duet with old Cartwright Parting Gifts teammate Coco Hames .
At its beginnings, A bit more time feels like one of those ‘back to basics’ attempts that groups make when they run out of ideas and energy. The opening is a cheeky boogie called “Let’s Do It Again” that winks more than it rocks. Before the intricate vocal melody of the title song kicks in, the intro’s juicy organ echoes a version of “Stop and Think It Over” that Reigning Sound recorded with the former Shangri-La singer, Mary Weiss. The applause on the burning cover of Adam Faith’s “I Don’t Need That Kind of Lovin ‘” is reminiscent of the band’s 2002 cover of “Stormy Weather”. Thankfully, the rest of the record is a handcrafted achievement, featuring some of Reigning Sound’s most layered songs to date. The pastiche of classic American sounds is still present, but Scott Bomar’s production gives the music an authentic and untudied feel. The keys swell under the choruses, the strings drop but do not exceed their welcome, and Cartwright’s quieter vocals have even more trouble and pathos than the sweaty scream he perfected in the 2000s. A bit more time sounds like a record made by someone who internalized the old music he loves and now lets it flow naturally.
Pressing the Oblivians ‘2013 reunion album, Cartwright tried to excuse the band’s’ 90s antics as “ironic,” and said Memphis Flyer, “I just couldn’t write the nihilistic rock anthem anymore.” Fortunately, he stopped trying. This old racial insult still can’t be unheard of, but on this rewarding album it’s clear he now has a lot more to say.
Buy: Rough Trade
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