Saturday, 12 May 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #174 - Gallon Drunk, "The Road Gets Darker From Here"

Twenty or so years ago, there was a special corner of my experience reserved for Gallon Drunk. There were also loungey bands, other bands that greased up quiffs and wore Hawaiian shirts, other bands that drank and muttered darkly; but there was nothing quite like Gallon Drunk. Their baritone, boozey glamour and edge of Nick Cave-like growl and rockabilly literary shapes made them stand out from whatever crowd I could muster in Anglesey at the time.

So there's a new album of their stuff. I don't know if they've gone away and come back like proper drunks or whether they've been hanging around semi-invisibly all these years - like proper drunks. It doesn't have the same stagger about it as the older stuff: "Stuck In My Head" sounds particularly poppy. Maybe they've had a moment of looking at themselves in the mirror and decided to stop trying too Bukowski.

"Killing Time" is drawn exactly from that same box though, including the tumbling, rumbling toms. "You've had your excuses/I've got mine": that's pretty neat. "The Big Breakdown" has more of a Blues Explosion rolling from side to side, which makes it a faded version of the schizophrenic panic they sounded like they were channelling back in the earli Nineties them. By "I Just Can't Help But Stare" I begin to suspect that there are two singers in the band, such are the split nature of the tunes.

There's some bottom end of the keyboard chill on closer "The Perfect Dancer"; it's quite low key in the other sense too. But there isn't much to drag my mind from their earlier incarnation, stranded out of many times as it was. Like an exciting version of Richard Hawley.

Rating: Staggering out of Tiki Lounge of the Mind

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