Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Album Review: Reigning Sound - Memphis In June

Reigning Sound
Memphis In June
*** out of *****

What originally seemed like a stop gap release from a band that couldn't tour due to Covid-19, gains more gravitas with last months announcement that founding member Greg Cartwright has decided to dissolve Reigning Sound after twenty plus years of service. Memphis In June now captures the final lineup of the band and the one that basically started it all back in 2001 with Break Up, Break Down.  

The group doesn't go back that far in it's repertoire for this live album though as it focuses on newer fare, opening with and highlighting their final studio album, the aptly named A Little More Time With Reigning Sound. Both opener "Let's Do It Again" and "A Little More Time" stay close to the album versions, banging and shaking with garage rock energy and well balanced low end. 

The group brings in some guest to add strings as "Never Coming Home" employs Elen Wroten's cello and Krista Wroten's violin to add drama to the Shattered tune while John Whittemore's steel guitar join the strings for "Drowning" and a weepy "On and On". 

The organ drenched "She's Bored With You" kicks off a more punkish retro run as Alex Greene's keys wash over the rollicking low end as "Time Bomb High School" blasts ahead and "Reptile Style" is grooving, less frantic than past released versions. "Funny Thing" goes for the slow bass bumping route around twinkling guitars and soothing vocals from Cartwright. 

The album wraps up with three newer songs, the first being the duet "Just Say When" which adds Coco Hames vocals to the mix with a return of the string section. "I'll Be Your Man" keeps the strings around for a soothing if lackluster offering before wrapping up the live record with more pedal steel and weeping feelings on "Moving and Shaking". Ending the record on a dour, bittersweet note feels the same way as reading the social media post last month and finding out Cartwright was ending the band, seemingly out of nowhere.  

The truth is none of these versions reexamine the originals in unique fashion and the studio efforts are definitive. That said, Reigning Sound were one of the best garage bands of any era so the vibrating live album Memphis In June is a fine parting gift from the outfit.   

Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

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