It takes less than two minutes for Chris Robinson to slap a sassy rejoinder at all those naysayers – real and imagined – who wrote off the Black Crowes even before the singer and his guitarist brother Rich called it quits in 2002. "Don't you wanna see the ship go down with me?" he asks on Warpaint's opener, rock stomper "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution," punched with the slide-guitar of the North Mississippi Allstars' Luther Dickinson, who now doubles in the Crowes.
That track is the catchiest on a disc that has the Georgia-bred band sounding downright re-energized, turning in a bruising one-chord grind on the spooky "Walk Believer Walk" and opting for twangy balladry on the slow, satisfying ramble "Oh Josephine."
The Robinsons needn't have worried: There's plenty of greasy-good rock 'n' roll to love here, including the bulbous, blues riff of "Wee Who See the Deep," the swaggering, country groove of "Locust Street" and a blistering, hypnotic take on Rev. Charlie Jackson's evangelistic "God's Got It" – all abetted by the mighty wallop of longtime Crowes drummer Steve Gorman. Elsewhere, the lyrics are flavored with references to "redemption" and a call to "join the jubilee." Consider me (re)converted. 4 stars