There’s a craggily handsome quality to Reigns Band frontman Evan Melgaard’s voice—a smoky, weathered tenor, with hints of honey audibly seeping into the cracks of each croupy rasp. And like that voice, the music of his Reigns Band—a mostly engaging mix of hippie-lite, singer-songwriter schmaltz, and workmanlike bar-band rock—will either grow more intriguing or increasingly tiresome with repeated listens, depending on your taste for (and tolerance of) the tropes of Triple-A radio staples.
And as such, the Reigns are least buoyant when they surrender, in a few instances, to weighty singer-songwriter lamentations. A case in point is the putative title cut from the band’s new album, wherein Melgaard’s instrument is so choked with maudlin sentiment, his lyrics so fraught with over-sharing, sensitive-guy vulnerability that it’s almost uncomfortable to listen.
Much better are the quick-tempoed “Luckiest Guy,” a Jack Johnson-esque vamp; the slinky, jazz-inflected “I’ve Been”; or “The Grass Is Greener,” a potent rocker built off an almost prog-rock riff. When the Reigns cleave to a sprier, nimbler, even—at some moments—a chancier approach, the results are exponentially more gratifying.
Credit, too, the fact that the musicianship is sharp, unusually so for a trio of this ilk. Melgaard consistently pleases, and surprises, with lovely acoustic arpeggiations, jazzy comping, and judiciously deployed, off-kilter solo bursts. And the rest of the band is spot-on, too—bassist/keyboardist Adrian Lajas and drummer Nick Randles share in composing, though not lyric-writing, credits—meaning that the Reigns come off as an authentic band, and not just a platform for singer Melgaard.