'I love The Renos, and if you're a fan of The Replacements or Ryan Adams or Neil Young, or just quality songwriting and cool bands with guitars in general, then so will you. John Gallaher's songs need to be heard by more people. Someone give this man and this band a record deal right now!'|
- Jules Gray FamilyJules
'My pre-pre-release copy of the album kicks off with my favourite song, "Coming Apart". The richly melodic chorus with its idiosyncratic hook evokes lost boys and lost minds, the vocal pitched somewhere west of Michael Stipe and south of Peter Pan. A song that stays with you for days after each listen. "Postcard Town" is jangly yet atmospheric, laden with solos that build in intensity, at once an invitation to come and live on streets named Gardenia and Magnolia and yet a warning to stay away: Blame the glare for staring, blame the rooms for where you sit / It doesn't matter what you get, it's never what you get. "Floating Saturday" is bleak and hypnotic, Kate Bush country without the topiary layers. And "Nothing Ever Happens" is a gleeful thrash, reminiscent of Graham Parker's "Saturday Night Is Dead" in its combination of raunch and trademark lyrical dexterity: And we all forget our crimes / Tell me, what were our crimes? / As our bonds continue to trade / And every relative ties on dimes. As John Gallaher instructs on both these tracks: Bury this with a lightning rod in the yard. "Motion Pictures", perhaps inspired by the whimsy in Neil Young's song of the same name, is a nostalgic realization that the things you brood on alone inevitably acquire that stale popcorn taste: Once upon a time it was soon to be a major motion picture. Scratch 'n' sniff introspection with a Cecil B DeMille guitar outro that brings relief to all the peaks and troughs. "Echolocation", aptly enough, mines the same seam. The question 'Where am I?' can only be answered by bouncing a signal off relatives and friends, transient GPS satellites, while the yearning for the call-and-response soundtrack of childhood is pulling you homeward. A standout song. Another killer track, "Down" is a hook-laden petit-four laced with gorgeous harmonies, charting the decline of a local beauty in her quest for success and imparting new meaning to the girl most likely to... "The Weather In Space" has all the power of perceived autobiography, given clarity by the sparse arrangement. As elsewhere on the album, the lyrics are a cut above most everything you hear nowadays. They effortlessly conjure images - your job is to filter them through the lenses you brought along. "The Future Is Chrome" is another favourite, with chord progressions that evoke an REM demo and a mouth harp that adds chromatic mystery to the song's question: is the future shiny or does the future taste like an automobile radiator grille travelling at speed past the crossroads...?
The Renos were a family firm of train-robbers in the Midwest. Somewhere amidst this daguerreotype slideshow you can detect jewels that once belonged to Grandaddy, Wilco, REM, Giant Sand and many more. John Gallaher knows the power of a groove and the value of a hook: his lyrics are poetry with music, an unarranged marriage of love, where the sonority of the words is paramount and meaning can be extracted with all major credit cards.
- Mark Goodwin Henry Moon