Title: Gallows Hill
Catalogue Number: Hooker Street HS002
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007
Following on from last year's sterling debut Endsville, Rev. Bob & the Darkness bring us another slice of their home baked, gothic country pie.
Staring with the conventional if zydeco flavoured "I Don't Care", Bluesbunny wondered if Rev. Bob & The Darkness had decided to follow the commercial highway. But no, they leave at the first exit and take us once more down the back roads. There are familiar country music themes here but they all get treated with a liberal dash of gothic melodrama. "Missing You" just exuded loss and regret with Betty Widerski's soulful and mournful violin stealing the show from Julia Hughes' impassioned vocals.
There are strong echoes of The Band in "Sun Doesn't Shine" an the theme of redemption is revisited in "Big Mistake". "Toe to Toe" veers off into what could well be a jazz side road. Following that was our favourite track of the album, the warm and charming ""What the Hell". Again a lyrically conventional song lifted up into the stars by a quirky arrangement featuring that mixes that atonal trumpet by Max Lewis that the Bluesbunny has come to love with some beautifully judged violin playing.
On of the most impressive things about this band is their willingness to experiment. The closing track "Drive" illustrates this perfectly with its scat like vocals, the sold-my-soul-to-the-devil to play like this violin as it launches us all back on to the road to redemption once more. Do Rev. Bob & the Darkness pass that all important second album test? Yes, they certainly do. As with the first album though, you really have to hear the whole thing to best appreciate it. It is also pleasing to note that this is a band that continues to develop their sound - it is like their first album but not the same as it and that is refreshing.
November 16, 2007
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