The Reigning Sound

Break Up Break Down

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AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson

Former Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers frontman Greg Cartwright cools his boiling garage leanings to a simmer on the Memphis musician's debut with the Reigning Sound. It's all about the material on Break Up Break Down, and there are only scattered references to the primal blues-rock of Cartwright's notable '90s projects. Heart-tugging vocals and songwriting are the central components that this country-folk collection revolves around. Highlights like the waltz-time lament "Goodbye" have just what it takes to grip the inner Hank Williams in every garage rocker, without tripping any irony-minded alerts that equate anything emotional with overt sentimentality. Perhaps this delicate country-rock balancing act is what impressed the Hives enough to take the Reigning Sound out on tour, or perhaps the decision was tribute to Cartwright's overlooked punk/gospel work with Oblivians. Such thoughts won't concern fans of traditional American music after they've confronted the authenticity and the sweetness of Break Up Break Down.

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