Reigning Sound – Shattered (Merge)
Most old dudes get cranky and bitter on the topic of love, especially in the oft-snarling genre of garage rock. Greg Cartwright, on the other hand, is the sort of sweetheart who still sings lines like: “Your kisses leave me wanting more / I’ve never loved a girl like this before.” Really? The guy is 42 years old. Either he’s been incredibly sheltered his entire life (highly doubtful, considering his resumé), or he’s an eternal optimist and romantic. He’s also a realist: love is not perfect, and it always comes with some baggage: “I saw the scar on the back of your arm / that’s when you told me the story / of all who came before me and what remains.”
Cartwright is best known (if he’s known at all) for his role in the Oblivians, a Memphis act that was one of the leading garage rock revival groups (which predated the White Stripes); in Toronto, he’s also known for producing the Deadly Snakes and serving some time in the band as a guitarist. Reigning Sound has been around since 2001; this is the group’s first album for Merge Records, and was made at the Daptone Studios in Brooklyn (Sharon Jones, Antibalas), even though Cartwright now lives in the hippie mountain town of Asheville, N.C.
Age and Asheville have softened his edges; there are some lovely string sections on here to augment his swoonier moments, for starters. Fans of his ramshackle rock’n’roll past will still finds lot to love here, however. “I’m still trying to be the man you need,” is the last line he sings on the album. No problem there.
Download: "Never Coming Home," "Falling Rain," "My My"