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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Gay Blades - Savages

The Gay Blades – Savages
2010, Triple Crown Records

Lead singer/guitarist James Dean Wells, AKA Clark Westerfield, and drummer Quinn English, AKA Puppy Mills are The Gay Blades.  They might just be two men, but the sound they create is huge.  The Gay Blades continue to surprise and excite fans with a sound that’s rich and dynamic.  On their latest album, Savages, The Gay Blades show themselves as a band maturing from the adolescent glee and irreverence of Ghosts without giving up an ounce of the sound that makes pop radio programmers dance with glee yet satisfies a wide range of music fans.

Savages opens with “Rock N Roll (Part I)”, a catchy and variable rocker with lots of little musical alleys to explore.  Imagine if The Tragically Hip and The Rheostatics did a Glam jam together and you’ll get an idea of the sound here.  “Try To Understand” is an upbeat rocker with a dynamic sound ala 1960’s Tom Jones.  Westerfield has a dynamic and intriguing voice, but he’s particularly hard to understand here as his enunciation is fluid and indistinct.  “Mick Jagger” is a catchy Rolling Stones clone that’s highly tuneful, although Westerfield continues to be hard to decipher. 

“November Fight Song” is among the best songwriting on the album, a song of existential angst about fighting to remain relevant or perhaps even to exist.  The Gay Blades go completely over the top here and succeed smashingly with a song that could rule the radio into the winter.  “Burns And Shakes is catchy and lively, messy and fun; the sort of song that’s right at home in a live set on a Saturday night at your local venue/watering hole.  Melodrama is the word of the day on “Wasted On The Youth”, a stripped- and slowed-down tune full of angst and a detached sort of regret.  “Every Night Is Like A Revival” is the true gem of the set.  Westerfield wears a Freddie Mercury vibe in a large swaying rocker with a great melody.  Savages closes with “This Is How Our Conversation Ends”, a throwaway snippet couched in silence. 

The Gay Blades have their ups and downs on Savages; the material that works well works extremely well, but there are some less than exciting moments on the album as well.  On the whole it’s a solid set from a pair of young bucks who growing into and finding their adult sound.  Savages is likely to appeal to The Gay Blades’ core fans and make them some new ones in the process, and listening to the album is likely to leave you thinking that there’s a lot of great material to come from The Gay Blades.  For now, Savages is a successful transitional album for The Gay Blades.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about The Gay Blades at or  Savages is available from as a CD or Download.  The album is also available digitally from iTunes.

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