Reigning Sound

Love and Curses

Love and Curses is the fifth studio album by Memphis’ Reigning Sound, and it is named after a saying from a 1960s TV personality, Sivad, who introduced monster movies dressed as Dracula. However, the album could also be named for the mishaps that postponed its release and the determination of the band to see it through. Problems with analog tape machines, a studio burning down and assimilating a new band line-up resulted in three separate recording sessions and the album taking four years to see the light. The disc starts with a blast of ’60s organ, raw guitars and one determined-sounding singer, jangling and bouncing through the song “Brake It” with enormous energy. Greg Cartwright, the band’s veteran singer, sounds hoarse, as if he has been worn down trying to get his point across. The delivery behind his profoundly personal lyrics comes across like a man who has lived a full life and seen the results of his mistakes. The album is nicely balanced between bouncy finger-snapping rockers and tuneful ballads that showcase his lyrics: (from “It’s Through”) “The debt you owe/ is just your soul and some hotel bills/ We’re all just victims of our own free will.”