Two Gallants - "The Bloom and The Blight" CD Review (ATO Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Gallants - "The Bloom and The Blight" CD Review (ATO Records)

After an extended period of inactivity, San Francisco duo Two Gallants is back with their first album in five years – The Bloom and the Blight – which also serves as the band’s debut for ATO Records. Wikipedia refers to the band as a “folk rock duo” but there is an explosive record whose lineage is equal parts 90’s grunge (Meat Puppets and/or Dinosaur Jr. are immediate points of comparison) and gritty alt-country with only a slight element of Dylanish folk thrown into the mix. The aptly titled The Bloom and the Blight is a meditation on past and present – melodic fury matched with the eloquent, confessional lyricism that has made Two Gallants an enduring favorite of both fans and critics.

Our past albums have been a lot more folk and blues-based, and I tried to move away from that to some extent,” guitarist/vocalist Adam Stephens says of the band’s fresh direction, “I wanted to find a rawness in the music and take us back where we’d come from, from punk rock and grunge in particular, to our childhood, in some ways. We had taken time off, and we did different things, played in different bands. And in doing those things, being apart and redefining ourselves in that way, we were able to come together with a fresh approach.

A number of tracks on the disc follow a verse-chorus-verse structure with exploding choruses. The opening track, “Halycon Days”, kicks off the album on a strong note with a frenetic alt-rock number which builds up a fuzz-drenched wall of guitar noise on top of a sludgy bottom-end. This is followed by “Songs of Songs” which is an alt-country number with exploding choruses. There are a couple of other alt-country numbers on the disc – which includes “Willie”, an alt-country boot stomper – but the disc is weighted toward the fuzzed-out grunge of tracks like “Ride Away” and “Cradle Pyre”. The band keeps things fresh by switching gears with a whisky-blues/folk number on “Broken Eyes” (this disc’s first single), hazy psychedelic space rock on “Decay” and winds up the disc with the gritty acoustic number (which sounds somewhat like Beggars Banquet era Stones), “Sunday Souvenirs”.

The Bloom and the Blight will be released September 4th and the band is also heading out on an extensive tour in September, which includes shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg later in the month. Pre-orders for the new LP come with a bonus 7 inch record that includes a cover of Abner Jay's "I'm so Depressed" on the A side and on the B side an etched in design drawn by Tyson.

Two Gallants’ September 2012 Tour Dates
1: Los Angeles, California / FYF Fest
2: San Diego, California / The Casbah
4: Tucson, Arizona / Club Congress
5: Phoenix, Arizona / Crescent Ballroom
7: Dallas, Texas / House of Blues
8: Austin, Texas / 29th Street Ballroom
9: Houston, Texas / Fitzgerald's
10: New Orleans, Louisiana / One Eyed Jacks
11: Birmingham, Alabama / The Bottletree Café
12: Atlanta, Georgia / Terminal West
13: Asheville, North Carolina / Grey Eagle
14: Nashville, Tennessee / The High Watt @ Americana Music Festival
15: St. Louis, Missouri / Plush
17: Cincinnati, Ohio / MOTR Pub
18: Bloomington, Indiana / The Bishop
19: Cleveland, Ohio / Beachland Tavern
20: Buffalo, New York / The Ninth Ward

24: New York, New York / Bowery Ballroom
PAPA is opening the show and advanced tickets are $20

25: Brooklyn, New York / Music Hall of Williamsburg
PAPA is opening the show and advanced tickets are $20

Two Gallants