Album Review: Before the Frost... by The Black Crowes
Exceptionally Good, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Revitalized by their 2008 reunion, the Black Crowes decided to take a genuine risk, recording a double-album's worth of new material in front of a live audience at Levon Helm's barn in upstate New York. . .
With the band’s eighth album, double LP Before the Frost…Until the Freeze, the Crowes have fully settled into their role as keepers of the '70s rock ’n’ roll flame. Frost captures the best aspects of one of rock’s finest eras: a balance of structured songwriting and loose grooves, catchy choruses and meandering solos, hard rocking songs and easy-going attitude. While 2008’s Warpaint, the band’s first album since 2001’s underwhelming Lions, had moments of greatness, Before the Frost feels better suited as The Black Crowes’ true return to form.
Two decades after the Black Crowes debuted with Shake Your Money Maker in 1989, the band is hitting a new stride with Before the Frost…Until the Freeze, a double-album of new songs recorded live last spring for an audience gathered at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock, New York, home to his Midnight Ramble shows. Given that this new project comes hot on the heels of last year’s return to form, Warpaint, and its subsequent tour—from which a live CD/DVD was released in April—Before the Frost… is an experiment audacious in both concept and prolificacy. What’s more remarkable is that the heated pace has allowed for such a strong set of songs, especially as vibe and groove have largely supplanted hooks and melodies on every Black Crowes album of the last several years.