Uniquely blending Americana-esque story-telling and raspy, expressive vocals to match, with a soul-rock soaked musicality that seems to contrast weight and darkness with lightness and delicacy – Under The Gallows highlight their own fresh take on modern blues-rock with this self-titled album.
Your Way is the opener and an intersting introduction to the band. The song meanders along this intimate story-line, the vocal maintaining a calm level of emotion whilst still keeping the tone recognisable. Any rising intensity coming purely from the free-style guitar solo cascading through the mix between lines. It’s an interesting set-up and structure – a quality true to the band’s own creative reach throughout the album.
As things progress, the songs remain deeply personal, honest and loaded with humanity and vulnerability, that leading voice injecting an aptly gritty, genuine delivery, and this is true regardless of the pace or mood of each soundscape.
Consider the mellow energy of Insomnia in light of the track’s contrasting sense of desperation and uncertainty. The whole thing is softly hypnotic, waiting almost a full two minutes before exploding into a full-throttle hook that welcomes the crash of the drums and a notable vocal peak.
Contrast stands tall again as joyful, knees-up country rock anthem God’s Plan tells a juxtaposing tale of painful memories and the road to finding yourself. A strong tempo and fullness helps re-energise the room – a well-placed track that again speaks on issues deeply personal yet likely relatable to all too many.
The band’s leading vocalist adds a definitive trait to their sound, this sort of country twang and grunge-esque roar combined – a little Cobain-like, yet softer for the most part. The topics throughout Under The Gallows follow a similarly dark, considerate pathway, actually, though instances of optimism do shine brightly within most progressions.
The band are story-tellers, scene-setters – the details are important, and meanwhile this live-jam style craftsmanship offers a genuine, almost free-style kind of audio experience, which, at the very least, offers listeners a taste of the world of live performance that’s been all but missing from our lives this year.
Everyone Dies engages and fascinates, satisfies musically. Pigs does to, melodically grabbing the listener for its anthem-like progression and simplicity – a stand out moment for how memorable the movement of the tune is during the verses.
Goshdarned has a similarly recognisable melody as it pours through – not a common trait of the band’s, as most of the songs rely on the feel and the story, but certain ones reach out all the more so for their subtly catchy vocals.
During the album’s latter half, highlights include the blues-rock shuffle of a contemplative track that is I’ll Go Alone – mighty vocals scream out on behalf of heartache and longing. Always , Yes Always is another for its rhythm and vocal pairing. Secrets too, for its soulful brightness and poetic lyricism.
There are aspects of bands like Highly Suspect as much so as Puddle Of Mudd throughout these songs, but that’s just the style, the character and passion. From a songwriting perspective, Under The Gallows follow their own routes, inspired by the freedom of jazz as much so as the structure and expression of Americana.
An interesting, introspective and often scornful album, but one that seeks to make sense out of interactions and difficulties within various relationships.