Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Lucky Strikes - Gabriel, Forgive My 22 Sins

'You'll find salvation in train station fights...' - Bel & The Dragon

Following on from THE CHRONICLES OF SOLOMON QUICK* - a sprawling masterpiece relating the tribulations of a candidate for one Robert Johnson's murder - GABRIEL... is a lavish, semi-mythical, spellbindingly literate concept based around the personal armageddon for the soul of boxer Frankie Valentinez, regimented from the remnants of battlefields of cinematic Americana washed ashore in some tributary on old England's south coast. From chain-gang vs gospel plaints with mariachi horns on scene-setter The Boxer The Bribe And A Father to gypsy jigs (Easily, Easily Until It's Done), garbled garage-gashes (Man With The Golden Arm), moody interludes (The Road) to heavy psychedelicised folk-blues infusions (Snake In The Grass) and reelin' back 'round to gentle fiddle-flecked utterly old-time reflections (Slowly The Night Fades) & unassailable laments (The Fight, Romans 8), this is note for note & yep, fuck me with my own drivel, pound for pound a pretty special seating plan indeed. Bribed to throw a fight thus tumbling into dereliction & the general insanity of temerperamental torments all the while devouring remedies from under the devils kitchen sink for a glimpse of redemption, they deftly wrap morality tales from the destitute darklands around that (actually largely irrelevant) premise of fight-thrower Frankie. Their garage-rock roots still snarl through though, so there's never any saccharine banality that for all their laudable groundbreakerage The Band & SWEETHEART Byrds plumbed. It's just incredibly epic & indelibly tantalising. No descent into clutching at cliches but these chaps are truly & literally the only contenders for the legacy of Mr Cave's sermons of the soul, leaving you sitting here, there & everywhere all over a-wondering what unsung no hero they'll come around for & match to several chapters of squalor & salvation.
Stu Gibson

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