The Black Crowes have followed the recipe for Croweology that made their previous album Before the Frost... a success. Set up and roll tape, recording the songs live in a studio environment. Unlike the last one, which came with a download for the acoustic bonus album ...Until The Freeze, they haven't held back and made it a double album straightaway, a little over two hours of bluesy retro rock that has been their bread and butter for a little over 25 years now.
Their big hits are there - Remedy, Jealous Again, but those acoustic reworkings are not that memorable. The good stuff comes along in Hotel Illness, the lengthy couple Ballad in Urgency and Wiser Time, and Downtown Money Waster the high point of the album, with Robinson's harp and Gotman's drums locking into each other like a Siamese twin.
There's plenty on this set to give The Crowes another lease on life. It's a summation of their output - the only "new" song is Cold Boy Smile, an in-concert regular since 2006. They will never pick up an award for musical invention, but there should be one for carrying forth the torch of Seventies music (the intro of Good Friday is a nod to Pink Floyd's Any Colour You Like).
Their current Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys Tour will be followed by yet another hiatus, a common occurrence in the band's history. No doubt that they will be back with new songs that will sound familiar.
The Black Crowes:
Christopher Robinson: vocals, harp, guitars
Richard Robinson: guitars, vocals
Steve Gorman: drums
Sven Pipien: bass, vocals
Luther Dickinson: guitars, mandolin, banjo
Adam MacDougall: keyboards, vocals
Croweology is released on the band's own label Silver Arrow (CD and vinyl). Two iTunes only bonus tracks exist: Boomer's Story and Willin'.