It’s apt that Amy Rigby should kick off her new album Old Guys with an assertive stomp. After all, the old guys don’t get much respect these days, what with all the young ‘uns thinking they know everything there is to know about making music of a timeless variety. “I’ve seen the price of fame,” she insists on that opening romp “From philiproth@gmail to email@example.com.” Hmmm, there’s definitely a Dylan reference somewhere as indicated in that cumbersome title, and that alone is enough to convince that there’s some credibility in the role models she’s referring to.
This, Rigby’s first solo outing in a dozen years (she’s teamed with partner Wreckless Eric more recently), confirms the fact that she hasn’t lost her verve or vitality, even despite her long layoff. As she has from the beginning, she demonstrates a spunk and spirit that makes each song a singular statement. While some of these offerings are of a decidedly subdued variety — the reflective “Back from Amarillo” and the strangely hypnotic “Playing Pittsburgh” among them — there’s never a moment here that seems lacking for incisive intent. Each outing is carefully constructed, some flush with cosmic cacophony, making for a series of mesmerizing moments throughout.
Granted, not every track possesses the immediacy that one might have found in Rigby’s earlier power pop cycle, a sound well represented by her classic Diary of Mod Housewife in particular. Still, there’s no denying the zest and zeal that accompanies such standouts as “On the Barricade,” “One Off” and “New Sheriff.” Rigby’s restless instincts not only make The Old Guys a welcome return, but an ageless effort as well.