Milwaukee's the Goodnight Loving are that increasingly rare band who have clear aural ties to the American roots rock tradition while sounding eager to do something different with it. They obviously love country music, blues, folk, and first-generation rock & roll, but they've also folded in some indie rock and classic pop accents and mixed up the ingredients in a manner that owes more to the inspired eclecticism of the Mekons than, say, the respectful formalism of the Jayhawks. The Goodnight Loving aren't precious about the way they approach their music; they know how to put the melodies up front where they belong while pouring a steady stream of energy and high-spirited fun into their tunes. The Goodnight Loving Supper Club is the group's fourth album and it's a strikingly accomplished and ambitious work that also sounds fresh, witty, and bubbling over with ideas; the ringing guitars are half Don Rich and half Dick Dale, the rhythm section can lay out a cheery shuffle or a steady garage rock stomp at will, and the lyrics can go anywhere from romantic contemplation over a hung-over breakfast ("Sunnyside") or a bizarre-world fantasy involving 37,000 cans of beer ("Summer Dream"), to a fish who is about to become someone's dinner ("The Pan"), and a dumb song that's stuck in your head ("Earworm"). and they sound clever without being pretentious at each turn. (And they can take darker detours on "Candy Store," "Addicted to Debt," and "Deep Black Pool" without getting bogged down too deep in the blues.) The Goodnight Loving understand American rock & roll better than most of their peers, and on The Goodnight Loving Supper Club, they demonstrate just how much you can say and how many detours you can follow while keeping things sharp, energetic, and fun; it's been a while since a band that had a claim to being important was this purely enjoyable at the same time.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming