San Francisco's duo Two Gallants specialized in a
neurotic form of folk-rock on The Throes (2004, Alive Records).
However, it is a bad sign when the standout song, Nothing to You, is the
100th variation on the melody of Don McLean's American Pie.
The bulk of the album are the
overlong laments of Crow Jane, The Throes and My Madonna,
that have few musical qualities (certainly not the vocals),
with lyrics that are tedious beyond redemption, journalistic reportages
that manically indulge in (lengthy) stories of retarded people who get
into all sorts of trouble.
The most tragic, The Train That Stole My Man, actually strikes an
emotional note just when we gave up hope that this duo could do that, barring
The shorter but punkish Fail Hard To Regain a` la Pogues feels like a breath of fresh air.
What the Toll Tells (2006, Saddle Creek) is a more atmospheric album.
It opens with the desperate, pounding cow-punk rant of
Las Cruces Jail, and includes the
country-rock singalong The Prodigal Son.
but again one is treated to monolithic and monotonous whining songs
repeat the same chords (if any) to tell stories that are as interesting
as a bar conversation (Some Slender Rest, Threnody in Minor B,
Age Of Assassins, the closest to a rocking song
Waves Of Grain, each at least eight minutes long).
Two Gallants (Saddle Creek, 2007) contains
Despite What You've Been Told.
The Bloom and the Blight (ATO, 2012)
We Are Undone (ATO, 2015) were mostly
subdued and downcast.
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