Marcellus Hall The First Line

Marcellus Hall The First Line
When Railroad Jerk called it a day about 15 years back, they left a small but potent discography that sat alongside Jon Spencer or even the Replacements in their rough and rolling ways. Singer and guitarist Marcellus Hall then put a decade in with the under-heard White Hassle before finally stepping into the solo spotlight with The First Line. Like many dusty blues punks before him it's the mantle of Dylan that Hall has chosen as armour, at least in terms of sound, though it's the sweetly poisoned inkwell of Jonathan Richman or Robyn Hitchcock from which his lyrics flow. Relationships in all their lost, found and unwanted forms are the backbone of the album, and Hall's spry wordplay ("I took the gravy train down to the shore / But the gravy boat left…") keeps things sarcastic and moving. When the storytelling is too linear, as on "One Drop of Rain," the songs get bogged down under the heavy lyrical lifting, but overall it's a batch of tales worth handing down. (Glacial Pace)