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The Reigning Sound: As Raw As Rug Burn

Asheville, N.C.'s The Reigning Sound draws from soul, country and garage-punk in its tightly coiled songs, but it infuses enough of itself in the mix so that its music feels like the work of real people, not record collectors. In "Broken Things," the band delves into a wistful vein while maintaining the air of toughness that comes with an array of bitter life lessons.

Over a midtempo groove that's as raw as rug burn, frontman Greg Cartwright bargains with a self-destructive friend, while questioning his own threshold for abuse. "I've got a pocketful of broken things / You can have 'em all," he wails, adding, "I won't listen to your screams of pain no more."

The vocals drop out as the track bounces ahead, while smoky keyboards weave through the nimble rhythm section and a succinct, fiery guitar solo. "Ain't you been seeing the same thing that I've been seeing? Don't it bring you down?" Cartwright asks. He knows he won't get the answer he wants, but he asks with all the urgency a man can muster.

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Cecile Cloutier