BY MICHAEL TOLAND
In 2012, Gallon Drunk, after having been on hiatus for a few years, released an absolutely smashing comeback record: the fiery, feral The Road Gets Darker From Here. Choosing to strike while the iron is hot to follow up that triumph, instead of waiting another half decade, the reconstituted band (with touring bassist Leo Kurunis fully integrated) gives us The Soul of the Hour.
Moodier, weirder and more psychedelic than its predecessor, Hour kicks off with “Before the Fire,” nine minutes of slow build and crescendo built on menacing keyboards and tense hornwork. After that palette-cleansing start, the band strips down to its leather undies for the bluesy, grinding “The Dumb Room” and “The Exit Sign,” sharp bits of thuggery with the grace of a knife-fighter. Thus it goes, the quartet alternating brooding slow dances a la “Dust in the Light” with acid garage sleaze like “The Speed of Fear” that would give Spacemen 3 nightmares. The LP reaches its pinnacle (nadir?) on the title track, which starts out dangerously seductive before going full-on gonzo, the band kicking against any pricks in reach while leader James Johnston rants like a nihilistic barfly after his tab’s been cut off.
Gallon Drunk’s whiskey goes down rough on The Soul of the Hour, but the lingering after-burn is the best part.
DOWNLOAD: “The Soul of the Hour,” “The Exit Sign,” “The Speed of Fear,” “Before the Fire”