The Bloom and the Blight
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Five years is a long sabbatical in the music world, whether it’s pop, rock, or indie. So, possibly even fans of Two Gallants’ previous three albums might not have thought they would see another from the San Francisco bred duo. But it takes more than a half decade layoff to quiet childhood friends guitarist/singer Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel as they come roaring back for what is arguably their finest, and surely their best sounding release. The guitar/drums attack starts peacefully then explodes on the opening “Halcyon Days,” bringing the twosome’s approach into White Stripes territory. Stephens sings like a man who was on the verge of death—which he was, due to a near fatal 2010 van accident—and now intends to make every vocal count. There is more than a little Jack White/Kurt Cobain to his careening singing that adds edge to songs which expertly navigate through loud/soft dynamics. From the folksy, Dylan-esque first single “Broken Eyes” to the metronomic start of “Cradle Pyre” and the harder Nirvana/hard rock tendencies of “Ride Away” these songs swing and swerve in unexpected directions. Not only have Two Gallants returned refreshed and revitalized, but they push the boundaries on their groove, marrying subtle shadings and pounding intensity into a terrific set that will excite existing followers and should find plenty of new ones.