As someone who spends their time scribbling about grassroots, underground and left field music, I tend to have a fairly good feel for the music that lands in my review pile, even before hearing a single note. A combination of the artwork, the title, the label or PR company who sent it or just the low-level buzz on the virtual streets I wander along all help piece things together. But it is still brilliant when an album comes along, that you fail to hang any first impression on and which then precedes to blow you away. That’s what music is for after all and moments like this are the reasons that you go to gigs early enough to catch the support act, searching for that elusive Damascene moment when you encounter what will become your new favourite band and find yourself entranced in a quasi-religious musical experience.
So what I am saying is that Triage, the new album from The Gentlemens, is, to use an understatement, a bit good. If you feel that music in the modern age has become far too sanitised, a bit safe, hopelessly derivative and devoid of real excitement, Triage has the answers, an eleven-track collection of raw, incendiary trash-blues anthems that blend groovesome rock ’n’roll swagger with surprisingly infectious melodies. It’s garage rock for the modern age, punk living up to its initial expectations, blues playing out a dystopian end-game, rock ’n’ roll boiled down to its cliche-free essence. Who couldn’t find something to like in that twisted sonic wreckage?
If punk music had been invented in Chicago in 1958 this is exactly what it would have sounded like and The Gentlemens would now be regarded as today’s perfect custodians of its sacred sound.