Reigning Sound’s first full-length record in five years continues Greg Cartwright’s recent upward trajectory. While Cartwright’s and The Oblivions return with Desperation last year was solid, Shattered is a breath of fresh air that stands out from the crowd.
These 11 songs shift effortlessly between garage, soul, R&B, country, and pop. Cartwright’s songwriting is incredibly melodic and endlessly singable. There’s a song on Shattered for just about everyone. If something doesn’t catch your ear, you might want to call the audiologist and get checked out.
The interplay between Cartwright’s vocals and various instruments is one of the reasons Shattered is irresistible. His voice sets up a lot and then the pay off comes in singing organ or guitar. On “Falling Rain,” the title lyrics launch the organ into the pay off. It’s not over the top, but it’s still energizing. Even the orchestral strings on several songs feel authentic and necessary and not cheesy or frivolous.
As brilliant as Cartwright is throughout the entire album, the new lineup of Reigning Sound — Dave Amels (keyboards), Mike Catanese (guitar), Benny Trokan (bass), and Mikey Post (drums) — outdo themselves. Amels’ organ helps to set the tone through out the record. He ranges from subtle and beautiful on “If You Gotta Leave” to tense and edgy on “In My Dreams.”
Post and Trokan make up a hell of a rhythm section. Look no further than opener “North Cackalacky Girl” (which is sure to be a hit here in NC) to hear Post’s crisp drumming and confident interplay with Trokan. Take Cartwright’s vocals and guitar out of the mix and Shattered would still be a decent way to spend 33 minutes.
Reigning Sound have made a record that’s as enjoyable as it gets. So enjoyable that Shattered isn’t just an album you put on repeat, but one you share with your all your friends too.
Reigning Sound will play at Merge 25 on July 24.