Two Gallants’ breakthrough, back in the early 00s, came at the hands of revered US label Saddle Creek – so perhaps it’s no surprise that as Adam Stephens’ cracked vocal works its way through the line “force yourself to fall in love / just to feel it break” on ‘Fools Like Us’, it’s that stable’s best-known alumnus that can’t help but come to mind.
‘We Are Undone’, the Californian duo’s fifth full-length shows off more than heartfelt wordplay and familiar vocal styles, thankfully – there’s the garage-rock leanings of the title track and follow-up, the grungy ‘Incidental’, and the not-quite-early Radiohead freak out ‘Under The Season / The Age Nocturne’ eventually goes even further in to the world of noise. There’s the dark, Cold War Kids / Black Keys whiskey-soaked blues that permeates ‘My Man Go’ and especially the piano-led ‘Invitation to the Funeral’. There’s a delightful anger that runs throughout most of the record too, not least in Stephens’ voice itself, whether noisy as on the title track, or backed more simply, as on closer ‘There’s So Much I Don’t Know’.
Two Gallants’ rulebook may be dusty, weathered and well-worn, but there’s a familiarity to what they’re doing that can’t help but make ‘We Are Undone’ a thoroughly enjoyable listen.