REIGNING SOUND: Love and Curses: CD

On Love and Curses, Greg Cartwright proves once again why he’s one of rock’s great songwriters. Lyrically, the album finds Cartwright tackling familiar territory—notably strained relationships and alienation—which he handles with the grace of a young Gene Clark. The treble and distortion found on Too Much Guitar has been quieted on Love and Curses. This outing’s production values and oscillation between rockers and slow songs has more in common with Time Bomb High School. Musically, this new version of the Reigning Sound is tight. Lance Wille (drums) and David Wayne Gay (bass) had big shoes to fill with the departure of last album’s rhythm section of Greg Roberson and the phenomenal Jeremy Scott. And Wille and Gay more than pass the test—check the Motown-meets-Moe Tucker thump of “CallMe.” I mean, you’ve got to hand it to Cartwright for assembling such a formidable band (rounded out by the impressive Dave Amels), something he’s done since day one of the Reigning Sound. Cartwright has an undeniable gift. He continues to write songs that could’ve come out of the BrillBuilding. I can think of no other album out this year that deserves your attention more than Love and Curses.

 –ryan (In the Red)