Two Gallants – “The Bloom And The Blight” (Bella Union)


So just what exactly have Two Gallants been doing since the release of their last album five years ago? Well, there was that greatly publicised problem in Houston when in pursuing a complaint about too much noise at a gig an over-zealous Texan law enforcement officer ended up Tasering the band and some of their fans. Mind you, that happened in 2006 so I am not sure we can take that into account unless, of course, we are factoring in the possibility of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Then there was also the fact that two years ago Adam Stephens, guitarist, singer and fifty per cent of this San Franciscan duo, sustained serious shoulder injuries after his offshoot band’s van was totalled in a Wyoming snowstorm. And then we have Tyson Vogel, drummer, singer and the man who makes up the other half of Two Gallants explaining away this 60 month hiatus by saying that the pair “had to go through the things that we had to go through”. In other words, and in trying to decipher this stoned hippie code they don’t seem to have been doing too much at all, which makes it even more difficult to understand why the follow up to “Two Gallants” clocks in at a rather meagre 31 minutes and 23 seconds in length.

But is just over half an hour spent in the company of “The Bloom and the Blight” still time well spent? Well, back together again in the studio after all that time this is a record that sees Stephens and Vogel seeking to move away from their hitherto folk and blues embryo and begin to take their first proper steps into adulthood. In trying to achieve this they first of all return to the metal, grunge and punk influences of their youth but in so doing somehow merely end up at a place not too far from where they began. The opening “Halcyon Days” does scream with a fresh intent and “Winter’s Youth” has Stephens in similar ear-splitting form as if his larynx has been doused in paint stripper seconds before the magnesium tape starts to roll. But under the hood of these newly liberated hulks of faux-grunge metal there still remains the old faithful chassis of blues, folk and Cold Mountain Americana and instead of gunning this particular Two Gallants automobile down some brand new highway you are left with a nagging sense of it being fresh out of new ideas and starting to run on empty. If you do find yourself with half an hour or so to kill and are looking for something to do, well just put on anything by The Cave Singers and hear how this sort of thing really should be done.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.