You all know by know about my psychotic loathing for ‘folk’ music. But rather grudgingly, I do have to concede that when that particular genre is used in the context of a pre-fix, then it can have some redeeming qualities. For instance, some ‘folk-punk’ can be quite enthralling. And so, similarly then can ‘folk-blues’ which is probably a decent description of this four-track EP from London based six-piece, THE DAMN JAMMAGE. (The term ‘gypsy blues’ may also succinctly sum up the sound.)
‘No Rest For The Crooked’ races through its four minutes twenty with a menacing stomp, Danny Rapscallion’s vocals rasping asunder the Stray Cats styled, rockabilly sounding rhythm section. The violin dances around the flames of a chorus that becomes more frenzied and dark as it reaches a crescendo and the Romany imagery just about reaches out from the speakers to smack you right around the kisser!
In contrast, ‘Black and Blue’ is more sombre in nature. I’m thinking here that this one’s about an abusive relationship and the male / female vocals play off each other at various points as the song moves from a rather morose mood towards an aggressive stomp and back again. It’s all very dramatic and despite its heavy nature, is quite engrossing.
‘Stockpiling Poison’ is like a Tom Waits type of song. Downbeat, gruff vocals over the top of a blues based bed with harmonica and a serious-sounding violin taking turns before a piano leads us into a more upbeat passage that again takes the form of a fast stomping beat.
Final track ‘(Show Me) Lonely Lost Love’ starts out quietly but builds into a swaying bar-room sing-a-long, with lovely harmonies at the outset, but which quickly descend into a drunken sounding rabble. And there’s handclaps! ‘Yay!’ for the handclaps! And a muted trumpet!
These four tracks all come across well in record form, but I’m willing to bet that in the ‘live’ environment they will take on a life of their own.
THE DAMN JAMMAGE could be onto something here.
(Released on 17th October 2011)