The Road Gets Darker From Here
, May 11th, 2012 06:36
It's three o'clock in the morning in the Last Chance Saloon somewhere on the edge of town and the dehydration caused by the endless supply of cheap tobacco, nasty liquor and illicit substances is beginning to take its toll. The last remaining ice cubes are sucked out from the bottom of the square glass but despite their welcoming and cooling effects, the realisation that tomorrow's hangover will hit with the force of a speeding locomotive into the centre of the brain is a sad inevitability.
You shrug, light another cigarette and decide on another drink. Why the hell not? The Devil is behind the bar and he's buying. Sipping from a concoction that could be alcohol, lighter fluid or aftershave - possibly all three - the view from your seat reveals a motley collection of afterhours stragglers for whom the daily grind of real life is something that happens to other people. The waitresses offer a garish vision of ripped fishnets, tassels and smeared lipstick and their tips are stuffed hurriedly into places you won't be going to any time soon.
Coming back from the toilet where the leaking contents have formed a horribly pungent pool that's threatening to continue to seep into bar, you step over a slumped heap of bone, flesh and ripped rags whose bleeding face suggests a beating so severe that no amount of whisky on this or any night will dull the pain.
You take another drag on your cancer stick, shuffle away and think about dropping some coins into the jukebox to soundtrack this infernal and intoxicated vision. But then again, why bother? Something's already on, a collection of feral music that perfectly encapsulates the depravity and sin that washes before your eyes and invites you to join in. And that something is Gallon Drunk's The Road Gets Darker From Here.
And what else could it be? Even in the field of Brylcreem-quiffed, bourbon-soaked and filthy fuzzed-up rock & roll, Gallon Drunk are the kind of band that are seemingly and bizarrely more in demand as individuals than they are as unit. Singer-guitarist James Johnson has raised his profile lending his talents to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and, more recently, krautrockers Faust while Terry Edwards has lent his horns and subsequent skronkage to rock & roll's more noted degenerates. Yet place them - and drummer Ian White - together and the results are the kind of tunes that rightfully take their place on Satan's own jukebox.
The unholy row contained here summons up the spirit of Link Wray in all his distorted, ripped-cone glory along with spectral voodoo of Screamin' Jay Hawkins force-fed through a jet engine and amplified through a sky-scraper sized Marshall stack. The drunken swagger of 'Stuck In My Head' collides with 'You Made Me''s gloriously sleazy ramalama as elsewhere, 'I Just Can't Help But Stare' conjures up burlesque visions as seen through the bottom of an empty vodka bottle.
Exhilarating with the kind of energy that stops just short of filling your pants, you survey the scenes of Bacchanalian excess around you. You want to leave but hell, you want to listen to just one more song. And besides, the horn'd fella behind the bar has just bought you another drink...