Gallon Drunk began as a raucous party band of 90s dark desires and goth-rock allusions.
Time and tide have certainly changed the band and with this latest line-up they’ve built on their soul hardening traumas to deliver a companion to 2012’s The Road Gets Darker from Here. They’re subdued now, mature and meaner.
2014’s The Soul of the Hour has the same musically dense tonality as it predecessor but, as though reflecting on their bass player’s passing in some confrontational strain of catharsis, contains the angriest vitality shown by the band to date. Simply put, this is the best record they have ever released. The Velvet Underground and Garage-psyche elements, always present previously, are given a deeper emotional throb.
Lyrically, Johnston has never been more direct, even if the focus of his rage and disaffection remains always slightly beyond our grasp. Which, by design, widens the scope of interpretation for all tormented listeners.
Guitars on this record are given a less melodic and more tonal character than on previous Gallon Drunk albums, while collectively the band have never sounded so together nor so accomplished. The result of such symbiosis is seven tracks of intense mood and impressive groove.
It’s on stand out tracks like ‘Before the Fire’, ‘The Soul of the Hour’ and ‘Dust in the Light’ that drummer Ian White shines. Moving away from straight beat to rolling rhythms, White has never played so expressively, often acting as lead instrument and emotive catalyst for the rest of the instrumentation. While Gallon Drunk has always been a band with percussive drive, this latest emergence of the band shows a successful exploration of what drums can achieve when put in the fore of an already formidable band.
Currently on tour throughout Europe, fans of death rock are recommended to make the proper preparations and render the vinyl transparent before the UK in April.
The Soul of the Hour by Gallon Drunk.
Released 7th March on Clouds Hill Recording Studios.