Two Gallants

We Are Undone

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After turning up the volume and putting a harder emphasis on the rock side of their musical personality on 2012's The Bloom and the Blight, Two Gallants take one step forward and two steps back on their fifth album, 2015's We Are Undone. On the first half of the set, Adam Stephens (vocals and guitar) and Tyson Vogel (drums and vocals) aim for a sound not dissimilar to The Bloom and the Blight, with Stephens' guitar sounding big, fuzzy, and full of attitude, while his vocals are fearlessly passionate and just a bit cocky on numbers like "Fools Like Us" and "Some Trouble," and Vogel's drums roll like thunder and bring in the bottom end that Stephens' guitar lacks. But while "My Man Go" is fully electric, the song eases back on the muscle of the album's first half, and spare, acoustic tunes like "Katy Kruelly" and the piano-led "There's So Much I Don't Know" are a clear throwback to the folk-influenced approach of the duo's early work. While the two acts of We Are Undone have separate and distinct personalities, the difference isn't as jarring as it might seem; even when they're strutting with rock & roll bearing, Stephens and Vogel give these songs a rootsy cast that splits the difference between past and present, and the quietest numbers still seethe with a heartfelt vigor. The most significant change is that Two Gallants continue to get better at this stuff, writing songs that speak from the heart and soul and performing them with the report of a full rock & roll band, rather than just another guitar and drum duo. In short, another first-rate album from a group that keep adding new facets without ignoring their past.

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