Title: Desire the Devil and the Ghost
Catalogue Number: Hijacked Records. HJ009
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007
More evidence that a ley line runs from the American south straight to Glasgow (or perhaps it's a result of too much exposure to Sidney Devine in our formative years), The People are yet another local band who draw deep from the Americana well. Recorded in leafy Pollokshields (or maybe the less leafy end of it), this album ticks some of the boxes one would expect, pedal steel, yes, layered acoustic guitars, yes, sunny disposition, no.
The beauty of this album is in the fact that The People have not aped the well worn Californian path of glorious harmonies and Byrdsian riffs. Rather the template appears to be the American gothic style of bands such as Sixteen Horsepower or the fatalistic morbidity of murder ballads, both in the sound and the lyrical content.
Gavin Piercy's vocals are distinctive while not immediately welcoming. At times reminiscent of past deliveries from SF psychedelic gangsters Mad River, he is mannered, however he puts passion into his singing and by the end of the album one can't imagine anyone else singing these songs. The biblical imagery of the lyrics recall Nick Cave at times and on their tour de force, "Snake," the band come on like the Bad Seeds on a particularly good night with wicked slide guitar and frenzied drums. There are several other songs here which occupy this high ground. "The Tempest" rips away like a cowboy with the devil on his trail, wild, evil and exhilarating at the same time. Again the slide guitars are superb, adding a real touch of class to an already classy outfit. Bet they kick ass live.
Reviewer: Bluesbunny Hop
June 17, 2008
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