Devil's friend: born against
compact discs | LP | DL
Amigo The Devil's second album, Born Against, once again pushes the boundaries of traditional folk, American and country music. Ian Corbridge is sure this masterclass in storytelling is one of the best albums of 2021, as Amigo's combination of dark, macabre, humorous stories and haunting soundscapes takes you on a roller coaster of emotions.
While rock 'n' roll is at the heart of everything I love about music, there's no denying that I've always been a fan of storytellers. I think that comes from my enduring love for Bob Dylan, going back to those epic stories of the early 60's that had such an impact on so many later artists. And of course, since then, many artists have followed in Dylan's great footsteps, but it's always exciting to find a new wave of talent who can offer that level of inspiration, not just through music, but also through the stories told in it. And that brings me to Friend The Devil.
Danny Kiranos is the man behind Amigo's alter ego, The Devil. With family backgrounds from Spain and Greece, Amigo was exposed to a variety of musical influences from an early age, from Eastern European folk to Australian ballads and Spanish and Cuban bolero traditions. So expectations are always high for a heady cocktail of influences that transpires in their music.
Amigo The Devil's 2018 debut album Everything Is Fine cemented their growing reputation for pushing the boundaries of traditional folk, American and country music. This reputation was built through a series of earlier songs compiled into a collection also released in 2018 titled Volume 1. Many of these songs had already achieved significant streaming numbers across multiple platforms, supported by an ever-growing global audience.
There is no doubt that Amigo's work draws heavily from the sounds and styles of artists such as Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Father John Misty. This is clearly evident on his new album Born Against, which once again showcases Amigo's penchant for dark and macabre storytelling, the deep emotional turmoil and philosophical thinking he explores in his lyrics, and a lot of the humor he loves to include in the lyrics. mix. What impressed me the most was the intensity he achieves in diving into the characters in each song, taking you right to the heart of the narrative.
The opening song, Small Stone, has an immediate epic quality, as it starts off with a mellow vocal tone, but then suddenly soars like Elvis reincarnated, with sweeping strings that carry the song to a staggering, staggering crescendo. It feels like a story of loneliness, possibly fueled by a trip back from addiction, and it has such a powerful and emotional spirit that it seeped deep into my soul. I was completely gone and knew there was no turning back.
Quiet As A Rat is a thoroughly bawdy affair with harsh trumpets that pay homage to its Spanish roots. Consisting of three vignettes showing characters hiding their inner turmoil to maintain a strong outer facade, the haunting voice explores the fine line between faith and control, using numerous biblical references.
In stark contrast, Murder At The Bingo Hall, channeled through the organ and piano of its producer and main accompanist, Beau Bedford, truly showcases Amigo's sense of humor as he explores the intense atmosphere of a bingo hall gathered on Wednesday. with what looks like a scene from a western movie. It's the ultimate analogy for cutthroat competition and yet another lyrical masterpiece. I witnessed a huge bingo hall in full session and believe me, this is not as wrong as you might think!
Drop For Every Hour comes with significant toxicity as it deals with a failed relationship that can never be restored. Once again, the opening banjo choruses explain its roots, while an intense sense of emotional chaos gradually creeps into the narrative, which is filled with regret and resignation, and is finally overcome by a dramatic string-infused finale. Better Ways to Fry a Fish almost feels like a brief interlude, but a little odd, as a dirge presents a brutal vision of justice and retribution.
Different Anymore is a truly moving ballad of regret and atonement to change for the better. Amigo's voice is played with such passion and sincerity that it puts me in the narrator's head, and the haunting choruses at the end give the song an almost overwhelming epic quality. Simply gorgeous.
Featuring a largely acoustic ensemble, Another Man's Grave preys on the fear and doubt many of us experience when we don't trust ourselves. There is no doubt that we live in a world where so many external pressures affect and destabilize our routine and outlook on life, social networks being a good example. And with the focus rightly being placed on mental health issues these days, this narrative will resonate with many people. Prescient phrases like "Screw the man who said everything would be alright" and "Life is like a sewer, we put out what we put in" really prompted some personal self-reflection to take stock of life, as I certainly didn't. I make. I want to be trapped in a grave where I know I don't belong. Powerful and captivating.
24K Casket is a nifty little number considering it talks about "a world that doesn't love us anymore". It's pure country music and western banjo infused with a classic honky tonk piano chorus. Another humorous song, conveys a sense of resignation that if we can die with dignity, we must accept what we have been given and be happy. Shadow, on the other hand, is a dark and ominous blues chant that leaves us wondering, "Who protects the shadow from the dark?"
The final track, "Letter From Death Row", is a deeply moving account of a man coming to terms with his fate in his final 24 hours. The lyrics take you on a deep journey of loneliness and regret as you recognize the loved ones left behind and how things could have been so different. Tragic but beautiful at the same time, it ends up being a fitting conclusion to the album.
Born Against is another great journey into the dark and mysterious world of Amigo The Devil, combining its poetic and macabre sense of storytelling with haunting and epic soundscapes. Explore such a wide range of emotions, from heartbreak to humor and beyond, with thought-provoking narratives, all supported by expansive musical arrangements and offbeat sounds.
Rarely does an album contain so much soul, emotion and mastery of the art of storytelling that convey so much warmth, passion and sincerity, but this one has it in spades. This album is already cemented on my list of best albums of 2021 and will be with me for a long time.
buy born againstHere.
All the words of Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writings at his authorProfile.
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