Two Gallants – [Album]

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

After ten years of the band treading and then re-treading the same folky ground, most of those listeners who had run across Two Gallants could have been justified in thinking they probably had the band pegged. Over that time, the band has won a base of respectable (if not necessarily impressive) size, and no one really seemed to be complaining as they picked up what the band was putting down. That may have been all well and good for them but, as The Bloom And The Blight illustrates, the band itself couldn't have been too happy with where they were in their careers; not content to remain the well-kept secret of a devoted few, Two Gallants have flushed the folk out, turned up the volume and started spitting tales of gloom and doom with a bit of fire in reserve.

All those who believed they had Two Gallants figured out will discover that they were dead fucking wrong from the moment “Halcyon Days” opens the record and shakes listener awake. Images of darkness and tribulation, hellfire and brimstone  are what welcome those brave enough to follow, along with Adam Stephens' cracked, broken and shredded voice (he already sounds as though he's been shrieking for days here) and Tyson Vogel's parenthetical (similar in style to Meg White) drumming. This is unquestionably the work of a band who does not wish to be taken for granted of slotted into a comfort zone anymore, and they escape that trap easily here.

Not only that but, even better, Two Gallants doesn't lighten up after they electrocute listeners that first time, and they don't just lock into a samey formula for each track either. Sure – the bombastic blues rock thread started with “Halcyon Days” runs through “My Love Won't Wait,” the frenetic and near-unhinged “Ride Away” and “Cradle Pyre,” but there is a greater reach here than just sticking to scorched earth; “Decay” challenges the obvious images of its title and switches back to the pristine and perfectly clean acousticism the band used to trade in while “Winter's Youth” yearns for simpler times long gone before setting the beauty that they create early in the song on fire in an act of pyrrhic effigy. Even further from the norm set by “Halcyon Days” is “Broken Eyes” – the only song on the album which keeps the growl in the guitars, but subdues  it to imply a genuine sense of remorse and so adds still another dimension to the record.

With all the twists, turns and passionate bursts which course through The Bloom And The Blight in mind, there's no question whether or not the record is a success. Fans who were drawn to the duo before may still appreciate what Two Gallants have done here, but far more likely is the chance that they'll be replaced with a far bigger body of fans hungry for catharsis and raw confession more than they are for folk. There's no doubt in hearing the results here that the can of worms the band has opened here is a dirtier one, but it's also meatier and more satisfying than any they've opened before too.



The Bloom And The Blight
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.