Two Gallants

Two Gallants (Saddle Creek)

Local blues-folk-Americana-indie-rock darlings Two Gallants courted some major drama last year, reappropriating an old slave song and getting Tasered by the police in Texas. This trend continues as Two Gallants, their third album, flaunts a theatrical earnestness that inadvertently borders on camp. It's easy to imagine songs like "The Hand That Held Me Down," a bittersweet and Whitney Houston–worthy breakup anthem, performed with histrionic female pop vocals and a drum machine instead of Adam Stephens' fingerpicking and the rattle of Tyson Vogel's snares and cymbals. "Did you kiss the hand that held me down? Was your kindness just pretense?" Stephens sings, providing future material for drag queens while his voice growls and trembles with the beautifully rough and strident sound fans adore. "Fly Low Carrion Crow," a spare and morbid song, is so pleasingly melodramatic that it's impossible not to reimagine it as an onstage satire of Britney Spears' career breakdown. Who you are will change how you hear this album: If you revere the blues and the Gallants that stand on its shoulders, Two Gallants will deliver more of what you already know you like. On the other hand, and maybe this is just the amyl nitrate talking, an album like this could make you reconsider the camp potential of the folk-rock revival.

 
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