Two Gallants are clever manipulators of volume and arrangement, creating storylines in the form of crescendos, climaxes and build-ups, often juxtaposing soft breakdowns with gnarly choruses. We Are Undone builds on that ability with the metal-adjacent track "Murder The Season - The Age of Nocturne" and the Muse-like build of introductory and title track "We Are Undone." But there are few head-banging adventures on this offering, which leaves more room for poppier songs like "Incidental" and "Fools Like Us," both very sing-able pieces. The album is also thematically diverse, with songs that consider the ills of consumerism, the inevitability of environmental disaster and the search for unattainable authenticity.
Highlight moments abound: the Tom Waits percussive intro to "Heart Breakdown"; the interesting Gary Clark, Jr.-like chord progression and duelling solos combining on "Some Trouble"; and Stephens' wild piano styling and vocal performance on "Invitation to a Funeral." Mixed with the grunginess and flare are the band's immutable folk sensibilities, evinced courtesy of an understated banjo on "My Man Go" and more impressively on "Katy Kruelly."
With We Are Undone, Two Gallants have created an album that is enviable in its quality and consistency. (ATO)