This album is the second release from the San Francisco folk-punk duo, Two Gallants, and their first on Saddle Creek records. The signing garnered them some more attention from fans of the other bands on Saddle Creek, such as Bright Eyes, it didn't have an affect on the greatness of their music at all. This album is still filled with folk classics just as The Throes
The record starts off with the first single of the album, Las Cruces Jail. This song has a lot of energy in it and is a really nice album opener. One of the best things about Two Gallants is their ability to tell a story, and this song definitely shows it. This track and the next are my favorite of the whole album and along with Nothing to You from their first album, makes up my 3 favorite songs from the band.
Steady Rollin' is one song that really shows off Adam Stephens guitar ability, especially his fast finger picking. The overall melody of song is catchy and you catch yourself singing the melody more than the actual lyrics of the song sometimes. This is another song where Two Gallants storytelling shines, as well as their love for songs about murder and criminals on the roam. Some of the best lyrics of this song are "I shot my wife today / dropped her body in the Frisco Bay / I had no choice it was the only way" The entire song reminds me of something Johnny Cash might've written.
Long Summer Day is the third of the great story telling tracks on this album, though all the songs pretty much tell a story. This one happens to be about slavery, comparing the affects of the summer day on the white man ("The summer day make the white man lazy") and the black man ("The summer day make a ****** feel crazy"). The story is told, of course, through the eyes of the black slave who questions why he is even slavery, with trips to the polling place to be laughed at, questioning whether hell is below the earth of if he is actually in hell now, then finally getting fed up and going for his freedom, leaving his wife and child behind. All the way through the drums and guitar really drive the song.
Some Slender Rest and Threnody in Minor B later in the album both show that just because you only have an acoustic guitar and drums, doesn't mean you can't jam. Both songs go over the 8 minute mark with very hypnotizing instrumentals and Adam's voice flowing through you.
Other songs on the album also pass the 8 minute marking, but don't carry the jam like musicianship that Some Slender Rest and Threnody in Minor B show, especially the latter. Most times it goes over the 8 minute mark because of the lyrics and the story is a little big longer than the others. Examples are Age of Assassins and Waves of Grain (which also has some of the best harmonica work on the album). At first these long songs may be intimidating, especially to the person who thinks folk-punk is just stuff like Against Me! and Defiance, Ohio.
Overall the album really shows where you can take the folk-punk genre if you focus on the folk and less on the punk. This album may not be very appealing to the former Against Me fan at first, but it will grow on them. It will however appeal to those who have listened to folk, folk inspired indie, or alternative country in the past.