From the rootsy side of Milwaukee's garage scene comes The Goodnight Loving, guitars a-jangle and harmonies a-ragged, directly from their hearts to yours. The last year has been a transitional period for the group, which added The Midwest Beat alum Ryan Adams on steel guitar and backing vocals during the recording sessions for their new self-titled album.
This new disc features another bouncy batch of tunes that speeds by too quickly, leaving the listener wanting more. Luckily, the band's prolific nature nearly guarantees it will happen; this is their third full-length since late 2006, and Adams reports they are already working on another single release.
While all three albums are somewhat of a piece stylistically, featuring country- and punk-tinged rock 'n roll, they've each had a bit different sonic focus. This is due in part to the way they were recorded: the first with a producer, Greg Cartwright of The Reigning Sound; the second with Justin Perkins in a Northwoods cabin; and this time around in The Goodnight Loving, mostly at a studio in Green Bay and once again with Perkins. The studio environment gives the album crisper sonics than the previous two dedicatedly lower-fi affairs (at least when comparing the vinyl versions), while the band explores a bit different facet of its music.
Other recent lineup changes for The Goodnight Loving have included the exit of guitarist Zachary Byrne, while Adams has taken over the drum set from Austin Dutmer, with the group continuing as a four-piece. Meanwhile, keyboardist/guitarist Andrew Harris has moonlighted with The Midwest Beat over the past year, including on their upcoming At the Gates release.
Perhaps it's partly this interaction with the Beat and Cartwright that has aimed the band towards a more distinctly '60s-esque direction this time out. The harmonies are often smoother and more out front on the new record. But the lower content of punk dirt doesn't mean a sacrifice in energy -- overall, this is their most rockin' album yet. (Dusty Medical Records, 2008; LP only in the U.S., CD available as an import)