BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Following hot on the heels of last year’s Desperation, the Oblivians’ comeback record, Greg Cartwright (AKA Greg Oblivian) drains his other main vein with Shattered, the first Reigning Sound record in five years. Apparently Cartwright exorcised his punk rock demons with Desperation, as Shattered is the band’s most accessible record yet. Recorded at Daptone Studios and given a warm, dry sound that doesn’t allow for distortion overload, the songs deserve kind treatment in any case.
The soulful “Starting New,” “In My Dreams” and “I’m Trying (to Be the Man You Need)” boast lighter melodies than usual, with a 70s feel, while “Never Coming Home” gains an almost baroque feel, like the Zombies without the intricate arrangements. The overtly rocking “My My,” “Falling Rain” and “North Cacalacky Girl” and the bopping “Baby, It’s Too Late” race the pulse faster, but still stay within acceptable adult boundaries. The measured energy and lack of noise may strike some as sacrilege – this is a band that used to give even its poppiest tunes a good thrashing. But Cartwright’s writing has gotten more sophisticated over the course of the band’s career, so who can blame him for wanting people to hear it without interference?
Give Shattered a chance, and you won’t be able to hear these infectious tunes any other way.
DOWNLOAD: “Falling Rain,” “I”m Trying,” “Never Coming Home”