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East Grand Blues

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Album Review

On their first record for V2, the East Grand Blues EP, Cincinnati's Greenhornes show some range in adding the Byrds to the list of bands (the Yardbirds, the Kinks, the Sonics) they cop licks and sounds from. Leadoff track "I'm Going Away" mixes chiming 12-string guitars and lush vocal harmonies to get a much softer and melodic feel than anything the band has done before. The rest of the disc features the group's usual high quality brand of garage rock revivalism but with an important twist. Surprisingly, moody Beat group-influenced ballads are the order of the day with "Shelter of Your Arms," "At Night," and "Shine Like the Sun," each being subdued and plaintive with atmospheric, almost dreamy, production courtesy of Brendan Benson. "Pattern Skies" is the only rocker on board and while it feels a bit by the numbers song-wise, the exciting production and soaring guitar work save the day. At least on this EP, the band seems to have scaled back their aggressiveness and retreated to a more melodic and grown-up sound. To people who liked their powerful and nasty side, you may be thinking "sell-out." For anyone who thought the ballads were the best thing about Dual Mono, it is a step in the right direction. The choice is yours.

Biography

Formed: Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

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)...
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