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Two Gallants 

The Scenery of Farewell (Saddle Creek)

Wednesday, Jun 27 2007
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Best known for playing boozy Southern blues shot through with punk ethos — and for getting tasered by Houston police after a nightclub fracas last fall — San Francisco duo Two Gallants steer clear of all things electric on this five-song EP. Instead they opt for maudlin, rust-dappled indie-folk that nods to early Dylan, Magnolia Electric Co., and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. The innards are acoustic but rarely sparse, and frequently evocative: Lead track "Seems Like Home To Me," for example, opens with raw, warbly vocal harmonizing from Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel. The pair promptly bring in a rising symphony of guitar picking, country fiddle, piano, and drums that nudge the lost-love sentiments into a back-porch-at-dusk scene, replete with trees swaying from an oncoming storm. Soon after comes a torrent of lyrical anguish: "You'll go, I'll stay, I'll begin again/ Just as you had planned/ 'Cause I've known lonesome things you can't come back from/ I hope I never see your face again," Stephens laments in "All Your Faithless Loyalties." It's the disc's best track, and the harsh words follow a good minute of wistful, Boss-lovin' harmonica. In fact, all of Farewell's goodbyes are bitter and bleak, but the beauty of these forays into the heart of darkness is undeniable.

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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