The Greenhornes: **** | CD review

(Third Man)

Is it a camouflaged expletive? A pre-emptive star rating? Either way, the title of the Greenhornes' first album in eight years exemplifies the Ohio trio's confidence. You can't blame them: this is a band with friends in high places. Jim Jarmusch has written their liner notes, while Jack White raided the band's rhythm section for both the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. Their appeal is clear: these are pitch-perfect plunderings of garage rock, psychedelia and British-invasion pop, with glimpses of Jonathan Richman, 1980s bubblegum indie and even Bruce Springsteen suggesting they're not trapped in a 1960s time-warp. Their derivativeness is fine when the songs are catchy: opener Saying Goodbye is thrillingly brash, while Better Off Without It is a terrific anti-love song, Craig Fox's voice catching affectingly on Patrick Keeler's cloppy percussion. But when the pace slackens, it's hard to silence the suspicion that this is effectively a pub band that got lucky.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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