Anyone still buying new Rolling Stones releases in hopes of hearing even a faint echo of Exile On Main St.'s reckless glory needs to cut his or her losses and start looking elsewhere for sloppy-great rock 'n' roll kicks. Start with Thee Shams' best work, Sign The Line, on which our Cincinnati hooligans veer slightly from their usual blues-bent garage routine. There's still loads of the over-amped guitar nastiness and pissed-off wailing that made them the pride of Porkopolis, but this time producer John Curley (of Afghan Whigs infamy) helps broaden their sonic palette by adding swank violin, harpsichord and acoustic guitar touches to the mix. He even gets frontmen guitarists Zach and Andy Gabbard to pitch in some lovely brother harmonies. There's a lot more going on here than their Queen City fashion sense would lead you to believe.
Thee Shams hit the Horseshoe Wednesday (November 16).