From Sinister Malice To Reflective Tranquility
Today children we are going on a journey, a journey through time into America's Deep South. The date? Well, why don't we look at the 1950s, take in some Johnny Cash before stepping tentatively into the 1960s but let's not forget to mix in just a touch of modern day into the equation and of course be prepared for the deeply dark and bleak as today's tour guide is going to be none other than Dan Sartain, a man who is dripping in country rock and laden with a dark rawness that could turn a grown adult into a quivering school kid in a blink of an eye.
Scared? You should be, Sartain takes no prisoners as his stark story telling lays bare all his demons and then some, making you question if he really is just 23 years old, or if in fact he did a deal with the Devil and is actually a 70 year old trapped in a young man's body. Ready for the journey of a lifetime? Then let's get this show on the road.
Coming out with all guns blazing 'Tryin' To Say' is all yelping squealing vocals with a rockabilly riff that rampages along like King's Of Leon before a demon like voice snarls out of the speakers, heralding Sartain's jaunt into 'P.C.B 98', a tale of spring breaks and road trips set to a 60s surf tune underneath a raw vocal styling and coming equipped with it's own jellyfish sound effect. Easing up for all of two and a half minutes, Dan Sartain Vs The Serpientes remains in a 60s fuelled hedonism of hand claps and crunchy guitar riffs with 'I Could Have Had You' lulling you into a false sense of security just in time for the trilogy that is 'Walk Among Cobras'. '...Pt I' is undeniably the stand out track of the album. A raw bar blues number that harks back to the days of Johnny Cash, 'Walk Among The Cobras Pt 1' is gritty story telling with vocals that add integrity to the track, making you believe that Sartain has lived every line of the song, has felt every bit of pain and means every venomous retort he utters. Thankfully 'Cobras P.t II' takes the pressure off slightly, replacing the musical darkness of '...Pt I' with a jangly guitar riff but in the end it's just a guise as the eccentric yelping of Sartain merely acts as a foil to the somewhat disturbing lyrics that profess "I'll figure out a way to hang you by your neck". The final offering of the trilogy winds down even further, offering a laid back mellowness that meanders along unthreateningly but still maintains the lyrical darkness.
Sounding like a man three times his age, 'Place To Call My Home' finds Sartain in a reflective, quiet frame of mind that shows the beauty of his musical and song writing abilities, making it almost a hidden treasure amongst the sinister rambunctious style that prevails throughout the album. Sartain then lifts the mood as takes us on a fun filled journey, careening across the open plains with 'Lonely Hearts' sounding like the missing track from a classic Western, lacking only a hearty "Ye-haw" at the end. Sartain isn't done with us yet though. 'Metropolis' is a punk blues attack on modern life that simply bristles with energy before 'Got That Feeling' lays the album and indeed Sartain's adventure to rest and where better to end this journey into the Deep South than on a sun soaked porch as Sartain laments love lost, allowing you to almost picture the scene.
From Johnny Cash to 60s surf to King's Of Leon, Dan Sartain encompasses it all whilst adding his own dash of disturbing malice. Quite possibly a modern day musical gem, Sartain has to be heard to be believed, and yes his journey into America's Deep South maybe a little scary, it maybe a little rough around the edges and provides rawness you'd rather avoid but in the end this is an album not to be missed.