Amigo The Devil is the alter ego of American musician Danny Kiranos, a truly remarkable artist with a most distinctive style and penchant for songs of a gruesome and disturbing nature. His quite sublime debut, Everything Is Fine, was a deliciously dark slice of Americana and quite obviously showed that everything was, indeed, not fine! Described as ‘murder folk’ the album was a roots derivative showing life in the raw and what happens down those dark and dismal American back alleys. It was an album full of raw emotion and lost yearnings and was simply sublime and wonderful in a totally melancholic way. His sound has developed out of Country and Bluegrass and, as we all know, Country has been known to trawl the more morose and desperate avenues of life.
Born Against has very much picked up where the debut left off and we are again subjected to the darkness and despair in the world created by Kiranos and that same delicious air of danger and terror again pervades the ten tracks that make up his latest work. This is most definitely not an album to play at those dangerous low points in your life as the tales of futility and despair can eat away at your soul but the man certainly does know how to pluck your heart strings! If you are looking for songs of love or riding powerful motorbikes down endlessly straight American highways then look elsewhere but if you enjoy a stroll onto the other side of the tracks then this is quite simply magnificent and a real testimony to lives gone wrong.
The man truly is a poet for the modern generation and his jaundiced view probably very much matches much of what is happening in this ever increasingly divided world of the haves and the have not’s. His lyrics are wonderful, dark, expressive and emotion filled as he weaves his tales that verge on the truly terrible ailments of society and life. Again, the acoustic guitar work is simply beautiful as he broadens the musical spectrum on this album a little more and plays around with the production and engineering to make the songs sound like something that could have been recorded anytime between now and as far back as the ’20s and I get the feeling that some of these tracks would be best savoured out on the porch watching the Dust Bowl in the ’30s on the great prairies, very evocative and life force draining. Try to imagine a combination of Scott Walker, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash and you will have some idea of the sound and style of this amazing and essential album.
I have always loved the work of Johnny Cash from his great whimsies like One Piece At A Time, surely one of the greatest ever lyrics, to his ground breaking prison albums but when I heard his American series of albums, they just blew me away. The mixture of fragility and melancholic emotion is truly amazing. The man was approaching the end of his life and you could taste the very essence of his soul, heart breaking and thrilling at the same time. I almost hate to say it but Cash has truly passed the baton on to Danny Kiranos and he has most certainly run with it!
If you want to hear a master story teller at work and glow in his special delivery then you should check out Amigo The Devil immediately. The themes are dark and bizarre but all are delivered with guile, craft and a pleasing honesty by a quite simply outstanding musician.
Born Against track list
- Small Stone (3:20)
- Quiet As A Rat (3:14)
- Murder At The Bingo Hall (3:21)
- Drop For Every Hour (3:24)
- Better Ways To Fry A Fish (1:19)
- Different Anymore (3:56)
- Another Man’s Grave (3:08)
- 24k Casket (3:44)
- Shadow (4:03)
- Letter From Death Row (3:31)