Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Reigning Sound – Stick Up for Me

Not sure if this is actually a single. Not sure I really mind…


Alfred Soto: Organ-fueled agitprop, with good lyrics and an unexpected guitar solo – it’s CCR’s “Fortunate Son” played at Sam The Sham tempos. I can even see the lead singer sneering.

Matt Cibula: I guess I see where they’re going with this, trying to spice up their deeply unsubtle political message with some even less subtle music. I don’t mind the medium or the message; together, however, not very tolerable.

Michaelangelo Matos: Roiling organ, raw vocal and, thanks to a giant chorus that hinges on the phrase, “Someone up there better stick up for me”, more proof that Really Meaning It just isn’t enough.

Chuck Eddy: I thought “Time Bomb High School” made for an okay little neo-nugget back in 2002, but since then these Tennessee studs have never made me give a damn; not sure if it was weak vocals, thin production, clunky rhythm, or all three, but they never really distinguished themselves from the garage-revival pack. Here, though, they’ve got a leather-lunged say-nothing throwback Protest Anthem For The Kids worthy of the Mooney Suzuki or maybe even Living Things, if not nearly the Bob Seger System or MC5. And while it doesn’t get half intense or specific enough about soldiering or the powers-that-be to convince me the people in the band have anything personally at stake, I still think that if kids heard it the world might be a slightly better place. If nothing else, they could frug to it at their next toga party.

Frank Kogan: A lot of the kick and none of the menace of the garage rock of my youth. Well, what’s so great about menace, and why would I want one of the worst years of my life accurately reanimated anyway, especially given that these lyrics are about being menaced? Nonetheless, something’s missing in Cartwright, who always writes a good tune and provides credible clamor, but over each of this song’s several minutes its force dribbles away.

Martin Skidmore: Punchy garage rock, with very endearing ? and the Mysterians style organ. The singing has some bluesy fire too, and the slight song’s little-guy message appeals. I find it hard to get excited about this kind of thing 40 years after its time, but this is as good an example of its kind as I have heard in ages.

Alex Ostroff: Reigning Sound somehow manage to seem both of the past and in the present — I can’t decide if this is a punk take on a girl group classic or a lost track by The Kinks. The song is all fuzzy guitar feedback, propulsive drums, and a glorious organ line that pulls it all together. Under the murk, a working man survives the daily grind, subject to the whims of the Man, the Church and the Government, taking his money and sending him off to war. Greg Cartwright’s demand that “Someone up there better stick up for me,” is ambiguous: is this a working-class protest with wailing guitars, or the organ-drenched lament of a religious man? The answer is “Yes.”

Doug Robertson: It sounds about as new as wax cylinders, but this is dumb, fun garage rock which is unlikely to change its underpants, let alone the world, but then, it doesn’t really want to.

5 Responses to “Reigning Sound – Stick Up for Me”

  1. I am sorry for being the one to piss in the cornflakes of this song. Seems uncharitable of me. Just don’t believe or trust them at all.

  2. Don’t sweat it, Matt. It’s just your opinion, if it’s honest there’s no reason to feel guilty or apologize.

    Worth noting that we recorded this obscure 60s Glass Sun cover in late 2007 when the antiwar sentiment among us, and seemingly the nation, was especially high. What struck me immediately about the song was the sense that not much has changed in 40 years, except the fact that no one writes anti-war songs anymore.

    -Lance Wille, clunky drummer

  3. Touché, sir!

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  5. Christgau had several retarded kids, y’all get an F-.

    Great drum woik, L.