More than the sum of their parts? That's the Jayhawks. Separately, the voices of Mark Olson and Gary Louris tend to be thin; together, their harmonies are as richly American, in their way, as the Beach Boys. Writing together melds Olson's country tendencies with Louris's rockier leanings. And now, 16 years after their last album together, they have reunited, to often glorious effect. She Walks in So Many Ways sounds like a lost Byrds outtake, and it's not hard to think the line that closes its chorus – "All things are just as they should be" – looks to the pair's renewed relationship. High Water Blues somehow makes a success of matching a motorik rhythm to country rock; Black-Eyed Susan is one of those sprawling ballads that made the group's name. Mockingbird Time yields its pleasures slowly – at first listen, it felt like a letdown – but once revealed, they're indelible.
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian