Two Gallants
The Throes



by FA USER (7 Reviews)
June 4th, 2006 | 25 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

"A severe pang or spasm of pain, as in childbirth"; the definition of "throes", the title to the first album by the San Francisco dream duo Two Gallants. The alternate definition is "a condition of agonizing struggle or trouble", probably the more accurate of the two. The most common comparison to the pair is that of Bob Dylan and their amazing performance through Stephen's harmonica and the guitar which really helps categorize the two into similar grounds; their storytelling tracks really add up with those of Dylan, thus making the assessment somewhat legitimate. Adam Stephens presents the band with his grungy, guttural vocals and his fantastic use of the harmonica. He is lead, (well, only) guitar player and, at times, his blues-punk-garage finger picking can blow you out of the water while Tyson Vogel handles drums and back-up vocals. It is actually quite difficult to place Two Gallants into a set genre without sounding generic, but I think that they truly do have their own distinct sound, easily obtaining the harmonica and their amazing in-depth and brilliant lyrics.

The hyphenated phrase folk-punk is the most common genre that Two Gallants is thrown into, and BrainToad mentioned to me that after listening to them more and more they become less and less punk-sounding; I couldn"t agree more. Although the guitar can sometimes reach punk sounding levels, it really doesn"t fit to the music they play. Garage is a more accurate word for them, mixed with folk and blues, where his coarse vocals throw you and his lyrics throw you even farther. Story tales about violence, lost love, misery, alcohol and tragedy add to the boiling pot of their music. The album opens with You Losin" Out, a prime example to the music their producing, with Stephens playing the harmonica, singing those harsh toned vocals with shattering lyrics while Vogel pounds on his drum set.

It is almost ridiculous to think that while listening to this band that they are only a duo and not a full band, but I find it more amazing how they reach depths of maturity through songs that tell amazing stories and songs that are represented in a woman"s point of view. A great example of a story is the song Crow Jane, where the depressing, heartfelt lyrics can be better determined by the struggling vocals of Stephens. It"s a lingering version of a "traditional murder ballad" that has been done by Skip James and Nick Cave. The lyrics are rather depressing:

But who's gonna save me from myself,
gotta lay the blame on someone else,
somehow I ain't got no hope,
cause I"m still running from the sheriffs rope"

They really throw Stephen"s feelings into perspective with the help of his careworn vocals. It"s almost of comedic value when he sings:

""it ain't no difference which way I smile,
I ain't good lookin' from a quarter mile"

yet you get a glance at his self-esteem and his songwriting.

The song is accompanied by a cello, adding an even more dismal sound to an already dismal track. Crow Jane is the first of two songs extending slightly over eight minutes, the other being Throes. Fail Hard to Regain opens with the jaunty playing of Stephen"s harmonica and eventually escalates into the punky/garage/blues vibe with the drums dancing in and out with Stephen"s guitar.

Not often in music can you find a decent song displayed from the opposite sex"s eyes, yet in Throes and Train That Stole My Man, Stephens does just that. He accurately and brilliantly displays the lyrics through a woman"s point of view and is backed by Vogel perfectly. His rolls and fills pirouette perfectly with his guitar, creating quite wonderful tracks. When you arrive to My Madonna you get a look at a lost love, while he sings:

Well no I don't care, no I don't mind,
if you don't hear a word from this broke heart of mine.
But can I borrow your face just to unload my mind,
borrow your face just to unload my mind.

The song prevails with turmoil and sadness through his vocals, the backing screams of Vogel and the drawn out notes of his harmonica. Stephen"s sings of how alcohol will suit him better than his love and how he wishes he could care of the major problems going on in the world, yet at the same time it"s all ruining his life.

And I wake on the floor with my country at war,
and I wish I could care but my liver's too sore.
And if liquor's a lover, you know I'm a whore,
if liquor's a lover, you know I'm a whore.

The album really holds something that will make the listener wanting another listen, their stories are worth another listen and the rustic solos will leave a lasting impression. The Throes is quite an investment to partake in, music wise. It"s brilliance received by those of many genres and all jumbled into something they"ve created all on their own. The antediluvian language sung by Stephens is something I haven"t heard in a while, at least not done well. He uses words such as "twas" and "ye" and uses them fittingly, attributing to a few of his early century lyrics; lyrics that could be thrown into a poem. The Throes can really grab a listener and once it gets a hold of your sleeve, it won"t let go until you finally decide to wash your shirt and hit repeat on your stereo.

They have a really original sound, wonderful harmonica playing, drums, finger picking and vocals.
Fantastic lyrics, storytelling, maturity, misery and great little quips.

Some of the songs may be too long for some listeners.
His voice may turn you off to their music.

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user ratings (86)
other reviews of this album
erasedcitizen (5)

gaslightanthem (5)
A fantastic debut and foundation for a band to build upon, I throw you only one warning; delve into ...

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 4th 2006


If I was rich, I'd go buy this album.

June 4th 2006


best album ive ever bought. period. it just blew me completely out of the water. simply....amazing...

June 4th 2006


I've heard a few songs by these guys and the vocals are the only thing that turn me away from this. I dig the heavy folk influences, it's almost as if they combine Calexico with the Minutemen or something like that.

Brain Toad
June 5th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review and fucking amazing band. I was going to review this, but I've been lazy. You did it great justice though.

June 5th 2006


People say they dont like the vocals. I, for one, think they are incredible. Great, great band.

Great review as well, FA.This Message Edited On 06.04.06

June 5th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

It was kind of hard for me to find more negative aspects to their music and I think the most popular one would have to be his voice. Other than that, I really don't see too many negative sides to them.

June 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

The voice actually adds to the band for me, grew up on Dylan, that may be the reason why. Anywho, great band, and a good review.

July 20th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I love Crow Jane.

December 28th 2006


Beauty in simplicity? Two Gallants know something about that, they do. Amazing album - going to be hard to top. Drive My Car is one of my favorite songs, both ways.

March 28th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

Breathtaking guitar, lyrics that take you on a journey and melodic, explosive drumming. God I love this band. Cool review, I think reading this first time round was the thing that made me go check out this band further.

September 23rd 2008


I love this, so so much. It really is amazing.

September 23rd 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I agree. I've been listening to these guys so much lately. I really need their new one, even if it is an alleged step down.

September 23rd 2008


I have been listening to these guys a lot recently too. Their newest album is a step down in the fact I'd give it a 4.5 to the 5 I've given this. It's still an amazing album so get it basically.

February 8th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

I think this is the saddest album ever written.

April 2nd 2010


nothing to you is such an awesome song...

May 2nd 2010


Thanks again to Sputnik for another great introduction!

October 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

god nothing to you owns

October 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

def bro this band rules

November 4th 2014


The version of Crow Jane on here is possibly the greatest thing ever.

Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

this is probably one of those albums i've never really got into but try so often. i know it'll grow one day

Digging: Julia Kwamya - Feel Good About Feeling Bad

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