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Reigning Sound- Shattered (Album Review)

Greg Cartwright has had a guiding hand in an almost unreasonable number of great garage-rock acts over the last couple of decades, among them the Oblivians, the Compulsive Gamblers, the Parting Gifts and perhaps greatest of all, Reigning Sound – whose early-noughties albums Time Bomb High School and Too Much Guitar both stand up as truly unimpeachable rock’n’roll-soul classics. The all-out blazing fuzz of that era is understandably less in evidence these days, but Cartwright’s extraordinary ear for heartbreaking melodies and artful arrangements is as keen as ever. Indeed, the exquisite, string-laden likes of Never Coming Home and the almost Bacharachesque Once More must be among the most swooningly gorgeous songs he’s ever written. He’s got a terrifically spry and skilful band at his back, too, who give the more uptempo songs here (North Cackalacky Girl, You Did Wrong) a snap and swing too often missing from this kind of endeavour. Shattered is a grown-up, repeat-listen rock record of rare quality, and a great addition to an already astoundingly good back catalogue.