Rev Bob & The Darkness
"Gallows Hill"

(Self-Released 2007)Rev Bob & The Darkness - Gallows Hill

With a name like Rev. Bob & The Darkness and dressed like extras from "Deadwood," "Gallows Hill," the band's sophomore album, could easily be snake oil. But the clever branding aside, Rev. Bob and his congregation are not quite the bad seeds they hint at with a slogan of "roots, rhythm and gothic blues." Instead, "Gallows Hill" is a blend of dark and bluesy country. Or rather, The Darkness sound as dark as you can with an accordion in the mix.

The blues bleed all over "Gallows Hill" from "I Don't Care," the tale of a woman leaving her cheating man ("my girlfriends say you're the best they've had"), to the lonesome and heartsick ballad "Missing You." "Sun Doesn't Shine Down" comes across as a Southern rock influenced country waltz while the harmonized background vocals on "What I Do" help to accent the melody. Occasionally, like on "Willow Creek Church Rd.," the lead vocals sound more disconnected than they could from the instrumentation, as the sluggish violin melody feels like it is constantly trying to catch up. For "Toe To Toe" the band throws all the rules out the window as they offer their take on a sprightly big band sound.

Rev. Bob & The Darkness' "Gallows Hill" is like Marilyn Manson: it seems like it will be a lot darker than it really is. Instead Rev. Bob & The Darkness are a country rooted band who takes some liberties and do some minor updating here and there. By the end of the album, the band seem unwilling to remain in the box they have painted themselves into with the previous nine songs. It certainly shakes things up but so late in the album is just feels a little odd.