Time Bomb High School is much more than another garage tribute to soulful '60s Brit-rock. But the sophomore effort from the Reigning Sound is something less than the band's minimal, country-folk debut. During knockouts like the Rolling Stones-flavored "Straight Shooter" and "I'd Much Rather Be With the Boys," Greg Cartwright and his Memphis combo's sound is as pure, and as well-grounded, as anything since Exile on Main Street. With 14 tracks, however, the material and arrangements are spread just a little too thin, and too many average tunes are allowed in the mix. A bit of a stylistic return for former Oblivians member Cartwright, Time Bomb High School crackles with raucous garage energy. While nothing like the punk/soul primal scream of the musician/songwriter's earlier days, this disc surpasses any reasonable swagger quota. The Reigning Sound's moody, countrified debut had a relative wealth of riveting numbers, and more conceptual clarity, but this 2002 In The Red title will definitely satisfy Cartwright fans as well as listeners wary of the inevitable post-White Stripes garage posers.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson