Album Artwork / Album Reviews / Alt-Country / Blues / Swamp Rock

ALBUM REVIEW: Bernie Griffen & The Thin Men – Salvation

ptw scorebw7.5a2593553490_10-2Bernie Griffen won plenty of hearts and minds with the dark and emotive alt-country of his last album Everything So Far (2012), accompanied by his band The Grifters. Now he has replaced nearly all of them with a new line-up called The Thin Men and jumped tracks to a rockier (in its many different forms) and equally accomplished sound.

Salvation takes the themes of sin and redemption, heartbreak, desperation and despair and wraps them up in a cloak of dark, gothic-tinged rock dragged kicking through swampy southern blues and dusty country music plains. The songs shuffle and swirl, the mood of the music as important a feature as Griffen’s tales of life and love’s casualties. The sound the band builds up across the album is firmly indebted to Nick Cave, Bob Dylan (of the last few decades), Tom Waits and Patti Smith who is name-checked literally in the song that bears her name. There is a real grace and poetry to Griffen’s songs, particularly in the tragic drug tale of ‘Girl With The Golden Arm’ and the opening track ‘I’m Crying Too’ with it’s direct and heavy-hearted lines such as “I’m tired of crying too… If you loved me, none of this would be happening”.

What sets Salvation apart from other albums that attempt to capture a similar sound is Griffen’s voice. Far from being a songbird or accomplished crooner, he seeks and achieves a wounded grace in his singing as he explores the darker societal corners like a tired and battle-scarred narrator. His is a unique voice on the New Zealand cultural landscape and one that should be widely acknowledged as such.

Chris Familton

this review was first published on Under The Radar

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “ALBUM REVIEW: Bernie Griffen & The Thin Men – Salvation

  1. Pingback: PTW Favourite Releases of 2014 |

  2. Pingback: DS 40 Favourite Albums of 2014 – Doubtful Sounds

  3. Pingback: PTW Favourite AU & NZ Releases of 2014 |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s