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Thursday, December 10, 2009


256 KBPS

The Devil Makes Three may play acoustic instruments, but as anyone whose ever seem them live can tell you, they lay down a groove as hard as any rock band. Do Wrong Right is the band's first album cut with label backing, and while they add a bit of electric guitar and some pedal steel, the basic sound remains the same. They're still ragged, but right, to plagiarize the title of an old George Jones tune, and like Jones, Haggard, and the other iconic figures they obviously love, their blend of bluegrass, primitive country music, folk, rockabilly, Piedmont blues, ragtime, and a hint of punk is always put in service of the music. The quality of the sound may be slightly better, but all the rough edges are intact, as is their devil may care attitude. "All Hail" comes galloping out of the gate to kick off the album in high style. Pete Bernhard's slightly woozy vocals, Cooper McBean's anti-bluegrass banjo fills and Lucia Turino's snapping bass give the tune a drunken, rousing feel. McBean takes the lead on the tongue in cheek ode to hard liquor "Gracefully Facedown." It's a solid country tune that references Johnny Cash, and rides Turino's thumping bassline to deliver a bleary-eyed message of delightful debauchery. McBean's meandering solo adds the perfect boozy touch. "Johnson Family" adds a bit of Gypsy jazz to the mix: imagine the Hot Club Quartet visiting the Carter Family. McBean's banjo adds jazzy accents and guest fiddler Andy Lentz drops a bit of Grappelli into his solo. "Aces and Twos" is a raggedy blues with hints of jug band music in its rhythms. Bernhard's uncontained slide guitar duels with the rock-solid rhythms of McBean and Turino to paint another raucous portrait of people who live for the nightlife that's driving them insane. "For Good Again" tells the tale of a traveling band trying to make it in an indifferent world. Some twangy electric guitar gives the tune a honky tonk flavor. "Help Yourself" continues in the same vein with an amusing insight/excuse "There's a thousand ways to heaven and a thousand ways to hell." Despite the band's obvious devotion to the good times that may lead to the latter, musically they'll have you dancing through the pearly gates on the way to honky tonk heaven.

1. All Hail
2. Do Wrong Wright
3. Gracefully Facedown
4. For Good Again
5. Statesboro Blues
6. Johnson Family
7. Poison Trees
8. Help Yourself
9. Working Man's Blues
10. Aces and Twos
11. Cheap Reward
12. Car Wreck

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