Gill Landry – The Ballad of Lawless Soirez

Gill Landry
The Ballad of Lawless Soirez

I came across this little gem during my endless search for the perfect Pirate-core album. With a song named “Mutiny” and the words “High Sea Treachery” emblazoned upon the cover, I thought The Ballad of Lawless Soirez was at least worth a shot. Although I once again missed my Piratey mark, I consider this a resounding success.

A secret love of mine is down and dirty Americana done right and proper. Unfortunately most of what’s out there seems to be one hit wonders in possession of no staying power, or over the top kitschy groups that seem to think a horn or two and some rhetoric amounts to more than a hill of beans. Well, fear not my friends, every dirty little itch you’ve needed scratched will finally receive some attention in the form of Gill Landry’s swampy vocals and lyrics.

“Poor Boy” fantastically establishes the almost sucking richness that permeates this entire album. Twangy and mournful, from the get go you almost sink down into it, losing yourself to the feelings perfectly evoked by the artful juxtaposition of Landry’s smokey understated vocals and lyrics just vivid enough to put you in the dark corners and secret alleyways a person can find anywhere in life.

I personally feel Landry’s lyrics especially deserve some applause. I’m often left feeling things can get a bit too bombastic in this genre, if you follow me. Landry gently takes you by the hand and although he often approaches that line, he never oversteps it; instead you’re left in another person’s shoes, some sort of haunted purgatory. Brilliant, that.

Another lovely aspect of this album is the mixture of instruments and styles. Indulge yourself in a delightful blend of funeral guitar, creeping fiddle, mournful cello, melancholy Mariachi horns, Mandolin, Musical Saw, Upright Bass – the list goes on. It certainly keeps things from getting boring, but isn’t schizophrenic or overblown to the point where you feel like you’re listening to a compilation album. Everything fits together with a satisfying little click.

Although much of the material is of a somewhat melancholy subject matter, this is still somehow a fun album. “Anjolie” is a rollicking good time reminiscent of a tango, while “Loneliness” simply makes you want to dance away your blues.

Like a pair of book ends, “Mutiny” leads us back to our day to day lives, allowing us to exit the album as gracefully as “Poor Boy” sucked us in to begin with. If you’re like me, hopefully you’ll simply start the whole process over again to see what you missed the first time around.

From the pulp novel cover art to the down and dirty feel of the lyrics, Gill Landry has whipped himself up a complete Dark Americana package to be envious of. You might find yourself wanting to hit the sauce a little bit while kicking back with this album, but that’s all part of its charm. Invite some friends over, open a bottle, and put this on loop as you wax nostalgic about the love that got away, the road never taken, and the friends lost along the way.