Some of us sat idly by while the Stooges, the Pixies, the Police, and the New Kids were busy plotting their improbable reunions, our arms crossed, feigning indifference. We wouldn't be satisfied with this whole spate of reconciliations until the Jayhawks' Mark Olson and Gary Louris intertwined their reedy Midwestern voices on record once more. (Although Olson left the group in 1995, he did reunite with Louris to tour briefly in 2005 and 2006.)
Now, it's happened, just as improbably as these things always do, and we can all die and head to mid-'90s alt-country Heaven. Ready for the Flood doesn't sound like something that's been percolating for 15 years — it's more as if the duo had reconvened in someone's kitchen, well after midnight, and gotten down to the gentle business of reconstruction.
The vibe is late-night and winter-solsticy, with the ballads "Turn Your Pretty Name Around" and "My Gospel Song for You" leading the pack; the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, as producer, lets the guys do their thing with minimal intervention. Nothing's as timeless as "Blue" or "Waiting for the Sun," but the thrill here is all about those two lonely voices that find each other, in this future of theirs, caught up in that rush of harmony.