Two Gallants: The Bloom and the Blight – album review

Two Gallants: ‘The Bloom and the Blight’ (Fargo)
CD/LP/DL
Out: Now

The San Franciscan duo return with their signature stripped down sound. Has a recent surge in this type of lo-fi blues rock diluted their appeal? Colin McCracken examines their new effort. 

It’s somewhat difficult to conceive the fact that it has been over six years since Two Gallants blew us away with What the Toll Tells’, their first album on Saddle Creek. The duo created a unique lo-fi blues / rock sound which they combined with tales of drunkenness and despair. They caught the end of the Americana wave of the last decade and so weren’t lumped in with a lot of the more forgettable alt-country acts of the 00’s. Even now, it’s difficult to listen to tracks like ”˜Steady Rollin” or ”˜Las Cruces Jail’ without getting shivers. The raw, damaged sounds of drummer / vocalist Tyson Vogel and guitarist / vocalist Adam Stephens amalgamated in a swirl of screeching, feedback and bastardised folk.

They return this week with the release of ”˜The Bloom and the Blight’, which sees the band step away from their signature sound into a more polished territory. The bones are still very much there, they’ve just been fleshed out somewhat. All of this means that it takes a while to adjust to the changes. There are times when it sounds less like the band we have loved for so long, and more like Mount Eerie, or The Black Keys. It’s hard to know whether this is a result of a greater number of bands of this type permeating the consciousness of the general public at the moment.

It is probably due to the ubiquitous nature of the aforementioned Black Keys that such comparisons are now unfurling themselves. A few years ago, they would have sat alongside Two Gallants in the alternative section of record stores, largely unnoticed. Now they grace stadiums and advertisements, whereas the Gallants are still touring the five dollar dives they always were.
It’s partly due to the fact that this album sounds like so many other acts at different stages that it’s easy to forget it’s a Two Gallants record.

There are times during Bloom and the Blight (Winter’s Youth, Cradle Pyre and Broken Eyes) which evoke memories of the band at their best whilst simultaneously offering development of their signature sound. Like this week’s Minus The Bear release, it will certainly keep the fans happy, but it’s highly doubtful if it’ll make any new ones.

The band can be found on their official website HERE

WATCH: The Bloom and the Blight: Album Trailer

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more of his Louder Than War articles HERE
He writes about movies HERE and lurks about on Twitter HERE

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  1. Hello Colin,

    That was a really well written review, thank you.

    I really did enjoy their first record so I’m really looking forward to listening to this one. I’m sure it’s going to be ace!

    Cheers,
    Svend.

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