Gary Louris and Co. shine up their long-running Minnesota folk-rock machine.
History repeats itself with the latest set by the Jayhawks, a band built on the Everly-cum-Burrito Brothers vocal harmonies of Mark Olsen and Gary Louris that, when Olsen departed in the Nineties, went from baroque country rock into rangier pop-rock territory. After his one-off return for 2011’s Mockingbird Time, its Louris’ show again on Paging Mr. Proust, and it’s the band’s rangiest set yet. There’s plenty of ‘60s and ‘70s gestures, often recalling Louris’ work with Canadian indie-rock classicists The Sadies; “Lovers Of The Sun” would slot nicely between the Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again” and The Hollies “Carrie Ann.” More off-script is the distressed drum track opening “Pretty Roses In Your Hair,” the burly choogle of “Leaving The Monsters Behind” and, most startling, the rickity electronics and no-wave-psych jam on “Ace.” But everything is ultimately grounded in Louris’ honed guitar heroics and crafty devotion to melody and song-structure, with Karen Grotberg stepping up on harmonies in Olsen’s absence. This set proves once again they’re a band that can be reshaped as needed, and is clearly built to last.