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Album Review: Two Gallants – We Are Undone

2 min read

Of all the vocalists currently working in the alternative music scene, Two Gallants’ Adam Stephens is the only one who can make me actually weep. And I do mean weep: I’m not just talking about the odd stray tear; I’m talking full on, chest-wracking sobs.

Two Gallants - We Are UndoneFor that reason I came to Two Gallants’ new album We Are Undone prepared, with a box of tissues by my side. Thank God I did. We Are Undone might be the most beautifully tragic album yet released by a band that included an eight minute song about a woman losing her unborn child on their first album.

That said, although We Are Undone is an exploration of pain and heartbreak, don’t come to it expecting acoustic, low-key songs. Two Gallants are a rock act and always have been, as the opening strains of titular track We Are Undone prove, kicking things off into high gear from the get go. The sound is intricate, but heavy in a way their last releases have only hinted at. This is the noise of a band fully embracing their rock roots, but doing so in a way that retains what made them so original in the first place.

Indeed, Incidental and Fools Like Us might be the most traditionally rock songs the band have yet released. In a perfect world, these two would be the singles that saturate radio stations for weeks: they are undeniably catchy, but never reductive or slight either, full of a real emotional power.

Two Gallants are storytellers as well as musicians, and their lyrics have always demonstrated their incredible literary talents. My Man Go is perhaps the lyrical highpoint of the album, but every single song is full of dense, beautiful imagery, all sung in Stephen’s imitable style.

The real emotional sucker punch of the album is the piano led There’s So Much I Don’t Know. Tragic, pained, but ultimately uplifting, it’s a beautiful examination of alienation and loneliness, that comes complete with vocals so sincere they could melt the heart of even the stoniest alternative music fan.

Two Gallants have been working on the sidelines for years now, quietly and consistently releasing great album after great album. Perhaps We Are Undone could finally be the album that catapults them into the mainstream – the songs are more radio friendly than others the band have released in the past, and none of the songs to have the potential to incite the (undeserved) controversy that the band’s song Long Summer Day sparked in the past.

But, whether or not the album makes Two Gallants a household name is beside the point. Whether the world at large catches on or not, the facts remain the same: We Are Undone is a work of devastating power, and one of the young year’s finest releases.