Reigning Sound Love and Curses

Greg Cartwright is the sort of figure that'll likely go down as a god and cult hero to a select few, instead of everyone, because of his band's inability to cross over. But, trust me, it's not for a lack of releasing some of the best rock'n'roll of the last decade. While Reigning Sound didn't go platinum like say, the White Stripes, 2004's Too Much Guitar is a modern-day classic, despite the fact that it sounds like 1965. Love and Curses is that album's proper successor, after a rarities comp and a fantastic album with Mary Weiss of the Shangri-La's kept the band busy. In the five-year gap, Cartwright has let the arrangements and production breathe a little more. But even more noticeable is how they've introduced a stronger soul influence, fleshed out by the addition of organist Dave Amels, who's helped take the focus off the previously blistering guitars. This nuance introduces plenty of working class/Springsteen moments like "Polly Anne" amidst the bar brawlin' rockers that still linger, like "Stick Up For Me." Perhaps it's just a sign of mellowing with age but it looks and sounds good on Reigning Sound, for Love and Curses is another watershed for a band that somehow continue to push and open up their sound without losing any of their edge. (In The Red)