I haven’t spent much time in the south. That is unless you count the yearly trips to Florida when I was a kid and that one time that I had a layover at the Atlanta airport. They had a room off the terminal area where you could smoke cigarettes. That was pretty cool. However I feel I know the south from books more than anything else. Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, well you get it. But the south is also known for its musical roots, the bluesy and country twang that is known the world over.
Oh and it’s also known for that beautiful brown elixir known as whiskey. It helps as much as it hurts, and sometimes it loosens the tongue enough to make art. It can also cause unwanted pregnancy and make anyone who takes down enough of the stuff feel like they are invincible. I speak from experience on half of this last statement.
So it seems appropriate that the Pensacola Floridian five-piece psych-folk outfit Colonel Gentleman and the Intangible Fancies hath named their debut EP Oh! Whiskey. The four sullen and booze-fueled tracks are woozy and bluesy and littered with recollections of times that the sweet brown tonic had a hand in. The opening track “Et in Arcadia Ego” translates from the Greek into "Even in Arcadia, there am I." Arcadia was known as a utopian land, and the “I” is often thought of as being “death.”
So here we have death finding his way into paradise. I thought it genius and a great opening. Musically it’s a slow and blues guitar riffed slog with singer Adam "Tex" Wall telling it like it is saying “I won’t be checking in to that promised land.” Next we get the death laden “Undertow” a gently upbeat country ballad that has its author “wishing that I had a heart made of stone.” The band go a little darker on the bass heavy “Mountain Brook” with the telling lines “just another dumb bastard that thought that he had a chance.”
It is both perfunctorily crushing and true to Colonel Gentleman and the Intangible Fancies agenda at the same time. Oh! Whiskey closes with the song of the same name. It’s classic southern blues rock and is the swan song of the record. If you were stone cold drunk this would be the song that would get you home. It stumbles along beautifully, like a drunk who thinks they’re not. It’s also short and sweet and charming as hell.
Oh! Whiskey is the little EP that could. Could what? Could make me and just about anyone who can appreciate a good batch of good drinking tunes feel something. These four songs are heartfelt without trying to be so. There is life in these songs, or perhaps rather lives. That’s not always so easy to do, but Colonel Gentleman and the Intangible Fancies do it and they make it sound easy.
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