The Greenhornes 4 Stars
Barring a 2005 EP, The Greenhornes haven’t released a disc of new material since 2002’s Dual Mono. Luckily for the band, that’s barely the blink of an eye in garage-rock years. Picking up where Dual Mono’s righteously faithful ’60s sound left off, “****” is another slab of The Greenhornes’ tuneful slash, gnash, and snarl. “Saying Goodbye” opens the album with a welcoming reintroduction to the group’s raw yet sophisticated garage rock. Granted, the song boasts big, bleeding guitars and R&B riffs that live at the intersection of British songcraft and Midwest American abandon. But leader Craig Fox—along with bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler, who have been keeping busy, either together or separately, with Loretta Lynn, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather—infuses it with a keening, gut-deep melody. The first single, “Better Off Without It,” brings in some organ-cushioned sensitivity and soulfulness, while “Cave Drawings” offers a dose of concise yet lush psychedelia. By the time the Dylan-meets-early-Stones closer “Hard To Find” rolls around, it’s clear that The Greenhornes haven’t ceded an inch to originality or au courant revisionism. Instead, Fox and crew have held their ground, dug in deep, and scored another win for timelessness.