The Reigning Sound

With the Tough & Lovely and the Vista Cruisers. Sunday, July 3, at the Beachland Ballroom.

When Greg Cartwright, a garage-rock revival vet from way back before Rolling Stone caught wind and broke out the champagne, dropped 2001's folk-influenced Reigning Sound debut, he revealed himself to be a breezy, literate songwriter. Two albums later, on the Reigning Sound's latest, Too Much Guitar, the riffs and tunes are catchy as flypaper, but somewhere in the razor-thin spaces between the admitted overabundance of guitar, Cartwright may as well be singing in Navajo or Yiddish. Too Much Guitar is a tribute to the crazed primitivism that today's overhyped greaser-rock charade is sorely missing. It's also one of those eyebrow-arching "Huh?" episodes that visionary musicians molt from time to time. But maybe at this hour of strange revelations -- "garage rock" produced by corporations and the horrifying resurrection of the word "progressive," uttered in reference to rock -- we can do worse than to take a bold step backward.