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There Is a Bomb in Gilead

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

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Album Review

Lee Bains III is a proud son of the state of Alabama, and he also studied literature in New York for a spell, and you can hear evidence of both on There Is a Bomb in Gilead, his debut album with his band the Glory Fires. Between the twang in Bains' voice, the twang in his guitars, and the plaintive howl of the melodies, this music is Southern by the grace of God, and Bains and his bandmates — guitarist Matt Wurtele, bassist Justin Colburn, and drummer Blake Williamson — aren't afraid to show their colors, whether it's on the R&B-influenced groove of "Everything You Took," the C&W weeper "Reba," the old-school Southern rock strut of "Righteous, Ragged Songs," or the high-speed buzz of "Centreville." While Bains talks a good game about punk rock in his lyrics, this music is less about high-velocity grit than the homey texture of red dirt, and the band's instincts and feel are pretty undeniable here, sounding as natural and as potent as a jar of iced tea and bourbon. But Bains also knows how to tell a good, compelling story with an interesting set of characters, and he successfully walks a fine line between letting his literate instincts have their day and keeping these stories unpretentious and realistic, and if losing your Ramones T-shirt and your Walker Percy novels to your ex-girlfriend seems like especially bad luck, in this context it makes sense. For a debut album, There Is a Bomb in Gilead sounds remarkably confident and assured, and Bains and the Glory Fires clearly know how to write fine songs and make them move in the studio; this is a band worth watching, and an album that deserves your attention.

There Is a Bomb in Gilead, Lee Bains III
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