12 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Greenhornes’ last full-length release, Dual Mono, had a tough, ‘60s garage-rock focus, with plenty of grit on both the guitars and Craig Fox’s vocals. An EP in 2005, East Grand Blues, showed the Cincinnati group moving toward a more soul-inflected sound, which worked beautifully on songs like the swaggering “At Night” and sensitive rocker-boy ballad, “Shelter of Your Arms.” On ****, the band dabbles in a little bit of everything: opening tracks “Saying Goodbye” and “Underestimator” roar to life like a couple of early Who outtakes, while “Better Off Without It,” all pulsing vintage organs and warm wood blocks, takes us back to early Van Morrison and AM radio. “Go Tell Henry” and “Cave Drawings” blend budding psychedelia and the blues, and “Get Me Out of Here” hints at a lighter Merseybeat style.  “Need Your Love” is a slamming tsunami of freakbeat (the Creation, the Sorrows, the Primitives) and college radio has no reason not to play “Song 13” in between vintage Superchunk and a classic slice of Big Star. We give this collection a solid **** (four stars).

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Greenhornes’ last full-length release, Dual Mono, had a tough, ‘60s garage-rock focus, with plenty of grit on both the guitars and Craig Fox’s vocals. An EP in 2005, East Grand Blues, showed the Cincinnati group moving toward a more soul-inflected sound, which worked beautifully on songs like the swaggering “At Night” and sensitive rocker-boy ballad, “Shelter of Your Arms.” On ****, the band dabbles in a little bit of everything: opening tracks “Saying Goodbye” and “Underestimator” roar to life like a couple of early Who outtakes, while “Better Off Without It,” all pulsing vintage organs and warm wood blocks, takes us back to early Van Morrison and AM radio. “Go Tell Henry” and “Cave Drawings” blend budding psychedelia and the blues, and “Get Me Out of Here” hints at a lighter Merseybeat style.  “Need Your Love” is a slamming tsunami of freakbeat (the Creation, the Sorrows, the Primitives) and college radio has no reason not to play “Song 13” in between vintage Superchunk and a classic slice of Big Star. We give this collection a solid **** (four stars).

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About The Greenhornes

Cincinnati, OH's the Greenhornes earned a devoted following during the garage rock boom of the 2000s, but while the band was clearly influenced by classic blues-based acts of the '60s (the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks) and first-era garage rock (the Sonics), their instrumental skill and songwriting chops put them well ahead of most of their peers. The Greenhornes were formed in 1996 by Craig Fox (guitar, lead vocals), Brian Olive (guitar), Jared McKinney (keyboards), Jack Lawrence (bass) and Patrick Keeler (drums); several members of the band had been friends since high school, and they recorded their first demo tape under the name Us and Them. After adopting the handle the Greenhornes, the band cut their debut single in 1998, "The End of Night" b/w "No More," and their first full-length album, Gun for You, appeared in 1999. In 2000, Olive left the Greenhornes to join the Soledad Brothers (where he changed his stage name to Oliver Henry), and Eric Stein became the band's new guitarist. The new lineup of the band recorded their second LP, simply titled the Greenhornes, but by the time they cut 2002's Dual Mono, Jared McKinney was out of the group, and Stein would leave before the year was out. However, the Greenhornes had a valuable ally in Jack White of the White Stripes; he had helped produce a Greenhornes single in 2000, and when the White Stripes' third album became an unexpected breakthrough hit, White championed the band and brought them to the attention of the White Stripes' label, V2 Records. In 2005, V2 released an EP of new material from the Greenhornes, East Grand Blues, as well as a career-spanning compilation, Sewed Soles. A year earlier, White had recruited Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler to play on Van Leer Rose, the album he produced for country icon Loretta Lynn, and when White and Brendan Benson (who produced East Grand Blues) formed their side project the Raconteurs, Lawrence and Keeler were invited to be their rhythm section. The Raconteurs released albums in 2006 and 2008 and toured extensively, while Lawrence also recorded and toured with another White project, the Dead Weather, and as part of the acclaimed Detroit alt-country band Blanche. However, Fox, Lawrence and Keeler reconvened the Greenhornes in 2010; they went into the studio to record a new album, **** (released by White's Third Man Records imprint), and hit the road in support of its release late in the year. ~ Mark Deming

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