This is the second album from Two Gallants; they are a San Francisco ‘folk-punk’ duo that explore a deep dark world of murder, racism and the old west. What The Toll Tells definitely needs the listener’s understanding and believe me this band isn’t for your average mainstream indie lover; expect a burning sensation on your brain when you press play. This album haunts you from the first moment you hear Adam Stephens whistle out a tune over a windy backdrop in ‘Las Cruces Jail’.
Two Gallants incorporate Delta blues in their music that even we, the hardcore alternative music fans aren’t used to and some critics have even blamed them for being too young to understand their music. I say though that this album is unlike anything out at the moment, their sound is a raw crash against a scratchy guitar and it really takes you where I would imagine the Gallants want you to go.
I was lucky enough to see these guys play earlier this year and they don’t just sound original they play original too, Stephens’s fingers crawl frantically over his Gretsch and I literally got showered in shavings off Tyson Vogel’s drumsticks as I stood in the front row. The album draws to a close with ‘Waves of Grain’, which is a 9 minute song (one of a four) that really explores the intense lyrical caliber of Stephens and Vogel ‘the fetus of Christ with a fistful of scars’ is belted out with a throaty painful cry that makes part of this song that never really gets to a climax.
What the Toll Tells is full of anti-Bush metaphors, but to be fair it would probably be possible to find a metaphor here that can be interpreted as anti anything.
You cannot dance or make love to this album, but you might scream or cry and that is a hell of a lot more exciting. All I can finally say about this album is that it won’t be appreciated like it should be, sadly so much of the evil that this band sings about is all to relative in the world we live in today. Two Gallants have made something quite courageous and I’m sure that people are either going to love it or hate it with all their hearts, but I encourage people to listen to it, don’t be afraid though I wouldn't blame you if you were.