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Love & Curses

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 11, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 release from the American Pop/Roots/Garage rockers. The Reigning Sound backed Shangri-La Mary Weiss on her critically acclaimed comeback album, Dangerous Game, which was produced and largely written by Cartwright. The band performed with Weiss on tour, including an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Cartwright also produced, penned songs for, and played in the Detroit Cobras for a spell. All the while, The Reigning Sound toured the US on and off and released a couple of live albums, yet never managed to get into the studio to record. All the while, Cartwright stockpiled loads of new tunes. Finally, late last year, the band entered Ardent Studios in Memphis and laid down a bunch of songs. Some months later, they went into Echo Mountain Studios in North Carolina and recorded a bunch more. In the end, the band had more than enough for two albums, and carefully whittled it down to the cream of the musical crop.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 11, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: In the Red Records
  • ASIN: B002D6EXSO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
These guys are already the undisputed kings of the garage. It's a dark garage full of heartfelt, scratchy r&b, soul, psych-pop, rock'n'roll and punk 45's. This album took awhile but it doesn't disappoint at all. No lemons or throw away tunes. The tunes run the full gamut of RS's previous efforts (power-pop/punk bashers, dark brooding ballads, R&B ravers)
Greg Cartwright is probably the only feller on earth that can write and sing songs that are filled with the darkest melancholy and lovesick pain and not sound the slightest bit sappy. His voice is a unique gift/weapon.
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Format: Audio CD
Love and Curses may be the Reigning Sound's finest studio achievement to date. Prior releases such as Time Bomb High School or Too Much Guitar contain many fine songs and moments, but don't hold together as well as a "whole album" (all 14 songs in 37 minutes of it) as this one.

Greg Cartwright and his ferocious band can tear it up mightily, as demonstrated here on such cardio-workout, garage-rock ravers as "Call Me", "If I Can't Come Back", "Stick Up For Me" (featuring, count `em, just three chords) and "Debris". They don't just melt the speaker cones here, though. They spend a fair amount of time in mid-tempo/quieter territory in such songs as "Something To Hold Onto", "Love Won't Leave You A Song", or "Polly Anne". There's even a genre-bending closer, "Banker And A Liar", that throws a dash of Tom Waits, a generous helping of Dylanesque lyrics and a dollop of the eastern European territory covered by Devotchka into a blender together.

Though Mr. Cartwright is not doing an impression of Bruce Springsteen, the shouted, Boss-like vocal inflections and the spirit of Bruce's rave-up songwriting circa 1979 seem to manifest themselves a few times, as on prior releases as well. Here, if you squint a bit, you may be able to hear songs like the opener, "Brake It" and "The Bells" as outtakes from The River. No wonder Little Steven likes this band so much.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful album. As a huge music fan who is easily bored and jaded, it takes a lot for an album to totally blow me away. I have been listening to this album pretty much constantly since I picked it up. It's soooooo good!
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It's been a long time since Reigning Sound released a proper album, and that wait has only raised my expectations for "Love and Curses." Sadly, this is a pedestrian effort that sounds like a band trying to recapture what made it great. With a few exceptions (Call Me, Debris, Is it True) the songs lack any individuality or spark. The whole record just kind of coalesces into an uninspired mush of the stereotypical "Reigning Sound" sound.

And speaking of sound, I know this is a lo-fi garage record, but this mix is horrible. The organ does little more than play filler chords, and it dominates and washes everything else out, while Greg seems to have forgotten there is a "treble" dial on his amp.

I love The Reigning Sound, but they haven't produced a decent album of original material since "Too Much Guitar." I'm getting worried that Greg has run out of inspiration and ideas. Hopefully we wont have to wait five more years for another release and he will prove me wrong. Until then, this will do. Barely.
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This is the second Reigning Sound CD I've purchased, and I can't wait to buy some more! Awesome throw-back rock N roll!
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