Scott Morgan, lead singer of Memphis the Band, has a voice pitched somewhere between the southern-rock inflection of Black Crows front man Chris Robinson and the R&B swagger of Mick Jagger. But once you’ve got used to this, the spit-and-sawdust roots-flavoured garage rock that the five-piece have been honing since their inception in 1998 starts to whip up a storm. In fact, the group’s fourth album sounds like one hell of a Saturday night at their local juke-joint down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Just listen to Morgan’s scuzzy blues guitar and the bombastic drums of Jeremy Thompson (he also produces here), pushed to the fore on opener “Stretched Out For Miles”, or Pete Lucey’s ‘60s retro organ fused with Ryan Davis’s fat bass guitar riffs on the smokey funk grooves of “Dead Man’s Curve” and you can almost see the crowd cutting loose. Things do tend to slow down some when Morgan’s wife Shannon steps up to the mic and provides swooning backing vocals to a handful of country twangers. But overall, these guys are an energetic party band who, while only sporadically engaging on record, remain a mouthwatering proposition live.
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// Notes from the Road
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