Last year The Dead South released The Ocean Went Mad and We Were to Blame and less than a year later they are back with a thirteen-song album entitled Good Company that is very much an extension of the sound they brought to us on their first release. With this release the band decided to record live rather than track by track in order to give an idea of what their energy is like when you see them in concert. I’m happy to report that I think that they achieved their goals as the music feels organic and it is as if the band is playing in the same room you are in. The Dead South return with a lot of the elements that made their debut a success.
Elements such as the wailing banjo, walking bass lines and exuberant vocal melodies are in full effect as they seamlessly combine genres such as bluegrass, folk and rock.
The album as a whole is fluid and cohesive. They stay with the realm of the sound they have created but throw in enough deviation to make things interesting. It very much feels like an album that was thoroughly thought out in terms of flow and energy. They speed things up then slow it down and introduce melancholy and all around send you through a rollercoaster of different emotions that feel interconnected.
The album opens with a fast finger picking ditty “Long Gone.” I enjoyed all the instrumentation on the track but the banjo player’s skills on this song are on the verge of ridiculous. It’s hard to believe he can keep up that pace for the whole duration of the song. Technical ability aside it is full of catchy melodies, a strong vocal performance and it is a knee slapping good time.
A slight deviation for the band is the quite enjoyable “In Hell I'll Be in Good Company.” The song is one of the slower paced tunes on the album but was a nice breather. One of the highlights amongst the batch is “The Dead South,” which showcases the band delivering some of their best vocal harmonies. I especially enjoyed the breakdown with the vocals where it felt like a mix between a sea shanty and a drinking song.
It’s obvious that The Dead South are an ambitious band and that their debut was just the band getting warmed up. Good Company is an accomplished album that confirms the band is a formidable force that is here to stay.
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