November 5, 2010

Reigning Sound – Time Bomb High School
garage-rock, rock & roll

Most of the best-known bands in the garage-rock Reigning Sound - Time Bomb High Schoolrevival scene have a tendency to aim for something of a rough, rock-out sound, pulling strong traces of blues, heavy-rock, punk or psychedelia into the mix for that dirty, raw angle that amps up the adrenaline and helps to establish a strong feeling of menacing authenticity. Reigning Sound go for a slightly different approach, reaching back into the early 60s and late 50s to craft a style with roots in rockabilly, country, vocal pop, surf-rock and the lighter-side of the garage scene. The music on Time Bomb High School certainly doesn’t lack energy or strength, though, packed with vitality and sporting a big, bright, robust sound that’s instantly very appealing. The authenticity is there, too – barring the crystal clear production, the songs sound like they could have been heard blaring from the crackling speakers of old Hot Rods and AM radios, and vocalist Greg Cartwright, whose musical pedigree traces back to his days in yesteryear garage-stalwarts The Oblivians, wields a combination of old-timey warmth and raw-throated belting that’s just a perfect fit for this kind of thing. Most of the album sits around the mid-tempo level, with plenty of love songs and lite-rockers, but Reigning Sound absolutely boot the door off its hinges with the opening track “Stormy Weather”, by far the finest and most replayable song on the album and one of my personal favourite songs of all time. Boasting the kind of broad appeal that suggests it deserves to be better known than it is, Time Bomb High School is a certified garage classic, revival or otherwise.