Nov 5, 2007

Two Gallants-Two Gallants

Two men, covered, cloaked in obscurity. This seems inappropriate, for the music of Two Gallants is bare faced, naked and raw. The duo from San Francisco have recently released their third album, a self titled effort, and it is the very definition of a grower. Unlike past efforts this music doesn't contain as many breathless moments of fierce and fast passion. However the passion is well and truly there as this album is full of slow burning glory. Songs that are ragged and glorious, full of the sinew of life. Give this album plenty of listens and its ample qualities will slowly draw you in and a rewarding experience is nearly assured.

Two Gallants' name is derived from a story in James Joyce's "Dubliners" and I always feel a literary style in their lyrics. They normally write stories of murder, theft and the dark side of American history. On this album though the themes seem more personal, they are world weary and tear stained stories of loves abandoned and lost. There is an amazing poetry to the lyrics and the music, whilst more subdued then previously, is still full of exquisite power and honesty. Stand out tracks include the harmonica imbued "The Hand That Held Me Down", which is a plea for understanding, the mournful "The Trembling of the Rose", which features sublime strings to accompany delicate folk style finger picking. For mostly two players, Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel bring enormous variety to the table. The guitar playing is forceful, yet sparse and Vogel's drumming can be powerful, yet subtle. Undoubtedly the major instrument is Stephens' voice, which is jagged and roughhewn, a blistering iron pulled out of the fire. This is never more evident then on the forlorn "Ribbons Round My Tongue" or the salacious "Despite What You've Been Told". This is music to enjoy now, but if you like, put it on the shelf and I guarantee it will taste even better in a couple of months.

MP3: The Hand That Held Me Down
MP3: Despite What You've Been Told


  • At November 05, 2007 , Blogger James said...

    Yeah they're a great find aren't they! I particularly love 'Fly Low Carrion Crow'. Such a solemn, beautifully crafted track.

  • At November 06, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    I agree it’s a grower – compared to their other albums at least. And James, Fly Low Carrion Crow is my favourite song on the album too – so beautiful! I think for me though the recent EP just edges out this album – there are some truly beautiful ballads on there.

    I would love love love to see them live.


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