Friday, July 7, 2017

Music Review: Youth Detention by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires



Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires were described to me by a southern rocker as a punk rock Lynyrd Skynyrd. This punk rocker would describe songs like Good Old Boy, as a southern man's Dead Kennedy's. This band is neither southern rock nor punk. They're one of those, "good luck describing them to someone who's never heard them before," kind of bands. If there's one description that fits my favorite bands it's, "you'll just have to listen to them." Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are garage rock with a touch of everything.

I don't exactly write traditional reviews. I usually spend the first two paragraphs explaining my personal connection to the band or artists' music or giving a backstory on where the artist came from. I had no former relation to this band or their music before this album so this was a complete first for me. The album starts out heavy and never really lets up except to change tempos from fast to faster. Breaking It Down! sets the mood with heavy distorted guitars, cowbell, and the singer trying to cram as many words into the line of a lyric like Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues before it's climatic catchy choruses. The rest of the album pretty much follows this formula.

The next standout track for me is Whitewash, one of the slowest moments on the album. Underneath the Streets of White Noise brings back the uptempo mood most of the album maintains. I won't lie, this album was a challenge for me to listen to. I wasn't able to listen to it from start to finish in one sitting like all the other albums I've reviewed for Story and Grit. The thing that kept me listening to it, though, was the fact that, at one point, I couldn't listen to a Drive-By Truckers album from start to finish either.

On a more positive note, I could spend many ear fatiguing hours by the radio with my guitar figuring out all the licks to I Heard God! because it's got every riff a garage rocker needs to learn. I Can Change! is another very punk rock moment on the album with a lot of bass guitar at the forefront and sloppy lead guitar to give it the wild abandon that rock and roll are notorious for. I also really enjoyed The City Walls. Songs like Tongues of Flame were favorites as well because I love songs that can rock out in a minute and a half or less. It's even got piano in it! Who does that? I'm also a sucker for some good acoustic guitar so I found The Picture of a Man to be the greatest treat on the whole album.

My only real complaint with this album was the amount of songs and the length. It was hard for me to make it through all seventeen songs without breaking it up because they all started to sound the same after a while. I look forward to hearing this band in a few years when they've gained a little more variety with their sound. Perhaps they're a coming of age band for me and I need to get young again to be able to appreciate their music. I still recommend this album because music is interpretive and you mighty get something out of it that I missed. In fact, I hope you do. Feel free to email me with what stands out about the album to you. I want to know because nothing excites me more than talking about music.

Bio Matthew Westmoreland (or Matty, as his friends call him) was born in South Carolina, grew up in Georgia, and rambled everywhere in between. Currently located in Mendocino, California with his wife and two sons, he spends his days writing songs and his evenings listening to & reviewing albums for Story & Grit before gigs. Look for his debut album in late 2017 and keep up with him in the meantime at facebook.com/westmorelandsounds
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