Friday, 19 September 2014

Reigning Sound-Shattered

Shattered is the sixth studio album from Memphis garage soul band the Reigning Sound, it's a cohesive set of garage soul inspired by the likes of The Box Tops, Big Star and the catalogue of most of the independent labels that operated out of Memphis in the late 60's and 70's. There seems to be a growing concern that to mine the past is to be derivative, to lack originality but I disagree and whilst this album delves into the past it has a breath of fresh air and a distinct sense of perspective. The album is flawlessly presented, it's tight sharp and funky but with the ragged edges still present. The album kicks of with the pulsating fuzziness of North Cackalacky Girl, precise drumming and the humming organ of Dave Amels. The mournful Never Coming Home sounds a little like late 60's Zombies from the time of the Odyssey and Oracle album with those light strings lingering across Greg Cartwright's restrained vocals.

But it seems much later than before
And I'm still waiting on a long distance call
That never comes
And you meant it when you said it
Yes you meant it when you said it
You were leaving and never coming home.

Falling Rain is uptempo southern soul, Memphis style this track has a familiar sound like it could easily have been recorded at American studios with Tommy Cogbill or Chips Moman at the board. The rhythm section has that firm command of that Memphis/southern sound, nothing is overcooked it's laid down in the pocket with a cooking groove. If You Gotta Leave has a more country soul sound with some great organ work and some sombre Nashville style guitar picking.

I can understand if you gotta leave
You can't tell people how to grieve
Somebody's on your mind
And it takes time for broken hearts to mend
There'll be a whole lot of pain
But it's not the end.

You Did Wrong is another nod to classic sixties soul with a bit more of a northern bent to it, Once More returns to a more delicate sound with strings and a softer tone. My My has Cartwright at his throaty best on this standout track, a great ode to being young and living life to the full,

Don't you know I don't claim to be lucky in love
That don't stop me from loving rolling the dice
I said my my, we can ball a spot let it shady
Gonna hug you and kiss you, and call you my baby
And in the night we feel apart
Tell your Daddy that you're mine
Cuz you're my girl

Shattered is a blast of an album, it's packed with soul searing melodies, relaxed punchy grooves and pulsating southern soul. It's an album that's not lightweight it explores themes of love and relationships and what better soundtrack to those tales than some soul. Hope these guys hit our shores.

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