Baby Grand

Aug 10, 2005 at 12:00 am

The Greenhornes’ V2 debut seems much longer than it actually is, since its five songs are steeped in real quality. It’s not like there’s one awesome song and then some throwaways — Brendan Benson produced and recorded the sessions for East Grand Blues, and he shapes the Cincinnati trio’s anxious and kicky rock tendencies into slinky midrange tempos (“At Night,” complete with whispering organ and thumping bass) and gently sloping sunny afternoon jaunts (opener “I’m Going Away,” a song that chimes like a polished grandfather clock). The referential qualities of the EP are done rather nattily, so its Kinks and Byrds touches aren’t obvious but boutique, and the more straightforwardly rocking “Pattern Skies” gets lost in huge sheets of fuzz and whiny guitar, the better to unsnap your tunic with. And if the Greenhornes’ love of looking backward used to cost them some points sonically, with Benson on board for Blues they nod to their heroes from a plush modern seat that itself sounds classic-minded. Like the Sights, the trio writes, performs and records from a place in the smoky ether between influence and action, and the results just get better with repeated listens. Which is great, but where’s the full-length?

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].