Two Gallants – The Bloom And The Blight

I first published this article on the Green Man Music site but as it is one of those records that I can’t stop listening too I thought I would revisit it here. In my humble opinion you should get a copy…

Two-piece bands that make a hell of a noise far in excess of their size are very much “en vogue” at the moment (see The Black Keys, Blood Red Shoes etc). Two Gallants have been doing this for quite some time however; guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel have known each other since they were five years old and been playing music and singing together since they were twelve. Whilst this is their fourth album, it is the first in five years, but there is no sign of any rustiness. Far from it in fact, this is a very solid record, literally. It is hefty all round, both musically and lyrically with a deliberately rough sound that makes the songs appear hewn from the very landscape that surrounds them, giving them an earthy, natural feel. Guitars are fuzzy and vintage sounding, which is also a fine way to describe the throaty, howling vocals, and it is all underpinned by a solid percussive foundation that probably registers on the Richter Scale.

Drawing from a huge bank of influences and inspirations the band effortlessly move musically between hefty slabs of visceral Zeppelin-esque rock, atmospheric folky Americana, punked out grunge, dusty acoustica and dirty bluesy indie-rock. And rather than coming across as a messy compilation album it has a cohesion and flow that draws you into their disjointed world. Thematically the downbeat lyrics fit the music perfectly, taking on apocalyptic, biblical topics and stories, conjuring images of scorched and blasted landscapes, populated by twisted and damned characters and situations, all alcoholics, dead babies and public hangings. It comes across as the musical equivalent of a Spaghetti Western style version of the book of Revelations, as performed by Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain.

Two Gallants have created a distinctive, identifiable record that in moments has the ability to cause blunt force trauma on the level of an enraged bull on PCP finding itself trapped in the porcelain section of Debenhams. But this is tempered by the melodic and melancholy nature of the material, resulting in a roller-coaster trip down a raging torrent that occasionally passes through calmer, more reflective waters. This is a brilliant, cinematic record that deserves to take the band up a notch or two in everyone’s estimations.

The Bloom and The Blight came out October 8th 2012 on Fargo Records


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