There are moments when the wonderfully named Amigo The Devil sounds like the dark, balancing counterpart of Damien Rice, times when he sounds like the alt-folk version of Danzig but mostly he sounds like Amigo The Devil. For all the space and drifting atmospheres of the former and the intense, diabolical edges of the latter, he manages to plough a furrow through murder ballad territory in his own inimitable style. This is Southern apocalyptic country music, gothic folk, blasted and blighted rock music…it’s the music that is playing as you wait for the world to end.
I’m not saying that there is any sort of orchestrated scene for such possessed music but it is interesting to note that I have recently had Monkfish’s howling creations and Bye Bye Banshee’s haunting blues under the pen. Maybe as the world gets darker people are naturally driven to ponder their own mortality and the fate of the world at large.
But as I have said regarding both those aforementioned prophets of doom, this too is no mere wallowing in self-pity, that would be too easy and Amigo, the old devil, is far too astute for that. Hell and You feels like the sort of music that Gogol Bordello might make if they had grown up just outside New Orleans rather than on the more urban Lower East Side of Manhattan, Preacher Feature is the sound of a ghost of the Old West being summoned to tell all and You’re Perfect Too is a rock and roll Mariachi band on speed.
And talking of drugs, Cocaine and Abel gets a mention not least because it is a great, restrained and atmospheric song but because it is a superb pun, one whose two titular components seem to sum everything the album is about up, sin and purity, death and religion, fragility and determination, bible black music for dark, dark days.
Perhaps the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was a folk musician from Spicewood, Texas.