Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two Gallants - The Bloom and the Blight (2012)


My introduction to San Francisco duo Two Gallants is wholly the credit of Jeff from Secret Mountains after he posted a link to the stream of their brand new album The Bloom and the Blight on Rolling Stone for no one in particular about a week ago. Intrigued, I ventured forth and what resulted was pure joy; utter elation. The Bloom and the Blight just  happens to be Two Gallants first record in about five years but as I went into my album listening experience completely without expectation, I found myself listening with a nail-biting sense of harrowing excitement.  

The album begins right out the gate with the steely-eyed roar of "Halcyon Days" and the most unexpected thing is that the album doesn't maintain this level of intensity. Amid the purring guitars of harder, rocking songs like the aforementioned "Halcyon Days", blues-tinged "My Love Won't Wait" and "Ride Away" are softer, tenderer folksy strains of "Broken Eyes" and "Willie". But rather than create a disjointed album, Two Gallants offer up a sort of graceful ebb and flow; bursting vividly with guitar rock pyrotechnics before simmering down into whirling puffs of wispy folk. These tonal shifts aren't just relegated to a track by track basis but take place on a more microcosmic level in tracks like "Song of Songs", "Decay", and "Winter's Youth". And that's what makes the album so exciting to listen to as even after multiple listens, when you begin to anticipate the sudden changes in mood, they remain fresh and new.

The Bloom and the Blight is an album full of unexpected twists and turns steeped in good old fashioned rock 'n roll even when the duo attempt to filter it through a singer/songwriter lens. It's pervasive, insistent, and pushes the whole album forward before it reaches the softer conclusion in "Sunday Souvenirs". A quiet finale that's well earned.

 Two Gallants - My Love Won't Wait by ARTISTA

 Two Gallants - Broken Eyes by Fargo Records

Two Gallants' The Bloom and the Blight is out today on ATO Records.

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