These days it seems like everybody is quick to label a group as “revivalist” if their sound is somewhat reminiscent of anything that was released pre-1970. But let me ask you this, what if said “revivalist” band happened to just intend to record a good old-fashioned and timeless rock and roll party record? With Sewed Soles, Cincinnati’s Greenhornes have given us just that.
One true thing that can be said about the Greenhornes, and which supports the idea of them recording a “party record,” is that they got soul. Singer Craig Fox sings in such a manner on “I’ve Been Down,” a track fitting enough to be playing at some dingy tavern as you’re mumbling your problems to the bartender who’s pouring your seventh serving of Wild Turkey neat. “Shadow of Grief” is rife with some blue-eyed soul that sets the mood for trying to score some tail in the back of a ’61 Mustang and the queen of indie-Americana Holly Golightly lends a coo more on Nancy Sinatra’s level on the shag carpet guitar jangle of “There is an End.” But it is with the roadhouse jive of “Too Much Sorrow” that one retains closure in knowing that somewhere out there, Paul Butterfield is looking down and smiling.
The guitar-fueled “Pattern Skies” and “No More” brings in memories of the British Invasion influenced bar pop of the Smithereens, while “Lies” comes in with the stringent rhythmic drive of the Sonics. The style of which “Satisfy My Mind” progresses amusingly but due to the way it sounds, it leaves the listener waiting in vein for Fox to start infusing some “rama lama lama”s.
While their last EP, East Grand Blues, was in the vein of classic Byrds, Sewed Soles sounds like it was recorded by five guys with mop tops. However, the Greenhornes, are, in fact, a trio. Now, I’m sure you are wondering when the term “garage” is going to pop up but I feel that it would be an insult to pigeonhole this record. This time around the Greenhornes carry a groovy swagger that is cutting edge and boundary-pushing while simultaneously showing off a clever knack for superbly arranged melodies and innovative instrumentation. Oh yeah, Jack White had a hand in producing the album as well. I now know that Cincinnati is so much more than a haven of trigger happy racist cops and where Rainman purchases his underwear at the K-Mart on Oak Street.
The Blue Van – The Art of Rolling
Cream – Fresh Cream
Soledad Brothers – Voice of Treason