The Parting Gifts: Strychnine Dandelion

Every now and then an older, world wisened bunch of musicians come along and show the young pretenders how it should be done. Much like The Jim Jones Revue did with their take on faster, harder rock n roll so too have The Parting Gifts done with their own brand of garage rock. While I am a huge fan of the bible that is the Nuggets box set, I usually wince when I see it referenced in reviews of new releases as it has unfortunately spawned a slew of unworthy wannabes over the years. No such worry here. In fact this is only one facet of The Parting Gift’s sound which has surprising breadth .

Greg Cartwright has been around a block or two. The Memphis native has played a relatively unnoticed but highly active role in the underground U.S. garage rock scene. Formerly of The Oblivians and Reigning Sound , he has honed his songwriting chops over many years and his production credits include The Detroit Cobras. On this outing he is joined by Coco Hames of Nashville outfit The Ettes as well as Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and Patrick Keeler from The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes. While billed as a collaborative work the guts of this album is Cartwright, and it’s all guts, packing a serious visceral punch. However having said that the addition of Hames as a female counterpoint is also essential to the mix, as it brings the often much lacking female perspective to the male dominated garage rock idiom.

There is echoes of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood on Born To Be Blue and Motown in the classic pop song craft of the organ driven I Don’t Wanna Be Like This. Elsewhere there are psychedelic country flourishes and even girl group intimations. It adds up to a cracking album of instant satisfaction; impassioned and defiant, lo fi and loose but wonderfully accomplished in all its ragged glory.

Don’t Hurt Me Now

Sleepy City (Rolling Stones Cover)


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