Black Crowes Before The Frost...

Black Crowes Before The Frost...

If there were any doubts left that Chris and Rich Robinson's ultimate wish would be to transport themselves back to the Nixon era, they've made that abundantly clear on this unabashedly earthy effort. In many ways, Before The Frost… is a much more confident return to full-time status for the band compared to last year's Warpaint, which seemed a deliberate attempt to reconnect with the mainstream rock audience that originally accepted them. Here, recording live in front of an audience at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, NY, the band present a suitably homey collection of new tunes that touch on all of their patchouli-drenched influences. It's certainly the loosest album they've ever done but it's also the most logical place for them to end up after so many years of the Robinsons' shameless borrowing from every notable record released between 1968 and 1972. While it's still easy to hear Led Zep in "Make Glad" and CSNY in "What Is Home?," the songs in the end come off as completely natural, suggesting a band that have sufficiently paid their dues and now demand respect. On the other hand, this might just be the result of sheer persistence. Either way, for better or worse, the Black Crowes have to be considered an American rock'n'roll institution, and Before The Frost… sufficiently backs up that claim. (Silver Arrow/Megaforce)