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Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires: There is a Bomb in Gilead

Reviewed By: John Clarkson
Label: Alive Natural Sound
Format: CD

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are heirs to the legacies of Gram Parsons, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In contrast to the Rolling Stones with ‘Exile on Main Street’ or Primal Scream with ‘Give In, But Don’t Give Up’, who because of geography and class, were always only paying homage to the genre, the Glory Fires, who are from Birmingham, Alabama, are the real thing with their unique brand of “Southern rock”. In Bains, who whoops and hollers throughout the eleven tracks on their debut ‘There is a Bomb in Gilead’ like a young Al Green, they also have a front man who sounds like he has lived every word as he tells of life beneath the breadline, women who have done him wrong and falling prey to sin.

There is for all its poignancy, however, a strong undercurrent of dark humour to ‘There is a Bomb in Gilead’, which has been released on the ever dependable Californian label Alive Natural Sound. “Me and the boys we are over educated and we are under employed,” Bains howls on ‘Centreville’, and “You can keep the T-shirt my brother got the time he saw the Ramones” on ‘Everything You Took’ at a girlfriend who is about to run out on him.

In Matt Wurtels, the Glory Fires have a guitarist whose quivering, fiery guitar work is every bit Bains’ equal. ’Ain’t No Stranger’and ‘Centreville’ are swaggering, muscular country rock/soul numbers, but ‘Reba’ and ‘Roebuck Parkway’ in contrast are aching, scorched ballads.

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires at one level may not be doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but, totally heartfelt, they do so with such style, energy and wit that they have created something really special.

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