Two Gallants – We Are Undone
“If you weren’t always talking you might hear me speak,” sings Adam Stephens towards the end of Two Gallants’ fifth record, but he needn't worry about being ignored on We Are Undone. Stephens’ voice dominates this rock duo’s lean guitar and drums lineup, an utterly committed wail that teeters between Brandon Flowers’ most histrionic Springsteen impression and all-out hair metal screeching.
Its surprising pop-punk highlight Incidental reads as fittingly symptomatic of the anxiety he confesses therein, finding Stephens vying for attention amid a crisis of self-worth that his intensity renders urgent. Elsewhere though, it’s less amenable, threatening to trample the elegant guitar work of the album’s second half and, at worst (see the grating, awkward chorus of Fools Like Us), doing little to conceal the absence of an obvious melody. Two Gallants can batter out a riff just fine, but ...Undone’s admirable musicianship is too often suffocated by Stephens’ reluctance to take a breather. [Andrew Gordon]