The Greenhornes

Dual Mono (Telstar)

From the mighty blast of reverb that opens "Satisfy My Mind," the first song on Dual Mono, it's evident that Cincinnati garage kings the Greenhornes are serious about the degree of "authenticity" with which they re-evoke those precious '60s sounds. But it's their aggressive blend of "authenticity" mixed with raw punk drive that makes these guys join the ranks of such greats as the Cramps, Fleshtones, Chesterfield Kings, Cynics -- and, for that matter, White Stripes -- in the annals of true garage mayhem. The breaking-in on this album of new guitarist Eric Stein has helped add to the frenzy of the band's attack, as evidenced by crunching rockers like "It Returns," which sounds like Kurt Cobain fronting the Angry Samoans circa Yesterday Started Tomorrow. Far from being mere "retro"-ists, these guys are state-of-the-art and could breathe life into any dingy basement club anywhere in the USA (which they've been doing through their extensive touring schedule).

At their best, the Greenhornes evoke the freakbeat possibilities of the nascent days of rock soloing and experimenting; in '60s style, the heavy blues number "Hard Times" goes into an almost raga-esque section complete with guitar excursions that, at one time or another, recall the Yardbirds, Velvet Underground, and Pretty Things. Speaking of the Pretty Things, "Too Much Sorrow" is a brooding Pretty Things-style blues that also manages to capture totally the swamp-rock ethos of Creedence Clearwater Revival. They're also capable of using piano in a '60s British blues context ("You'll Be Sorry," "Three Faint Calls"). And when chanteuse Holly Golightly sits down with these boys for the torch ballad "There Is an End," it's a truly soulful and illuminating moment.

Golightly reappears in purely distilled form for the set closer, "Gonna Get Me Someone," a duet with head 'horne Craig Fox that rings with raunchy regrets. There's also the heavy British blues stomp of the instrumental "Pigtails and Kneesocks" and the baroque "Don't Come Running to Me" (think "Ruby Tuesday"). All over this album, the Greenhornes prove themselves worthy inheritors of the whole garage tradition -- even if most of the members live in neighborhoods where hardly anyone drives, let alone owns a garage.

 
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