The Greenhornes fourth album is cleverly and aptly titled as they return to the retro-garage-psychedelic-pop proceedings that they perfected at the beginning of the millennium. The jangle and aggression have been turned down to focus hardcore on keyboards, simple song structures and trippy blends of sound; all of which are evident on the eastern tempo change mayhem of “Cave Drawings” and the classic soul ringing “Better Off Without It”.
With Craig Fox, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler playing in various bands and not releasing a studio album together since 2001’s excellent Dual Mono, fans might believe the band would be rusty or bursting at the seems with new ideas but neither are the case. “Underestimator”, “Go Tell Henry”, “Left The World Behind” and “Song 13” stand up with their best work (which means they all sound copped directly out of 1966) while “Need Your Love” swaggers with tightly packed aggression. Brevity is still essential to the sound; “My Sparrow” waltzes blissfully around as their longest tune but only flutters for 3:47 before descending. The disk closers (“Get Me Out of Here”, “Hard To Find”) play a bit more like sketches then completed tunes, but that is a risk you take when minimalism is the playground you frolic in.
Vocals are consistently the weakest part of the songs presented on ****, The Greenhornes with a ripping throwback soul/rock wailer would be something powerful to behold, but when it comes to simple retro rock and roll there are few who do it better.