Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Dead South : " Sugar & Joy "

Have listened to these guys before , but this is my first time reviewing an album and really fully digesting it. "Diamond Ring" is driven by vocals that more country to me, though the upbeat music backing them is more blue grass, the harmony vocals are also more blue grass, but the lines blur with these guys. For a band that is generally dark for the kind of music they play "Blue Trash " is more on the celebratory side. The get back to draping more shadow over their sound with " Black Lung" takes on a slinky groove. There is some fun fleeting fingered banjo picking on "Fat Little Killer Boy". It's almost more rockabilly. There is a more straight forward acoustic strum to the more folk inflected "Broken Cowboy".  I like the heartfelt vocal melody to this one. The vocals have improved from what I have heard from these guys in the past.

There are little banjo interludes on this album, but for the purpose of this review I am sticking just to the songs. "Snake Man pt 2 " is a brisk uptempo jaunt that flows well. The bass line to  "Heaven in a Wheelbarrow" propels the song, which would normally be too happy for me, but it becomes effective and ends up working where it otherwise might not. "Crawdaddy Served Cold" is the first song that doesn't click with me on the first listen and might be too rooted in the kind of drunken country I do not normally listen to , and not dark enough for me.  I am skipping over "Alabama People" is it feel more like an interlude as it just works off the one thing for two minutes and is more of  an idea they are touching upon than a fully formed song. "Spaghetti" is moodier so it clicks with me where the "Crawdaddy Served Cold"  did not.

This album is a lot of fun and takes blue grass and gives it enough folk rock sensibility to make it more easily ingested by someone like me, who has an appreciation for country music but never knows what side of the cow pasture to start from when looking for it. I will give this album a 9 , the song writing is really solid and the vocals have improved, my only complaint was some of it is a little happy for me. that is however a common themes with the genre as it does not lend it self to sitting around in the dark and being depressed when performed.

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