Whenever I see a two-man band, I immediately think The White Stripes or The Black Keys. Thatís what happens when duos are an anomaly, and a duo of duos becomes rather popular. So, when Two Gallants fell into my mailbox, composed of two members, the White Stripes/Black Keys comparisons came to mind. Then I noticed they were on Alive Records, a label that also once nurtured The Black Keys. And they were produced by Jeff Saltzman, who also once produced, you guessed it, The Black Keys.
But Two Gallants sounds nothing like The Black Keys. Nor do they sound like The White Stripes. I canít even begin to explain what they sound like, actually. The vocals, which sound like two-parts Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) and one-part Bob Dylan, will take a listen or two to grow on you. But, believe me, they do. The more you listen, the more you realize they are the perfect compliment to the sparse drum/guitar combo that mysteriously carries the thickness and volume of a full rock quartet. But it isnít really rock theyíre playing. Itís this odd jelling of backcountry blues, one-guitar folk, and old punk. Imagine Bob Dylan, coked up, with distortion pedals.
The album opens with the very bluesy, electric folk "You Losin' Out". Then they kick it up-tempo a bit with "Two Days Short Tomorrow". Two songs later, "Crow Jane" conjures up a spooky, dismal desert ghost with its sparse hushness, only to turn everything up to 11 on the jig-like screamer "Fail Hard To Regain".
The Throes is a debut record that may not grab you by the balls right away, but, as is the case with things that sound a little different, itís nothing a few good listens canít fix. There are so many different styles influencing their sound, even the most skeptical, snobbish listener will find something to appreciate.