Different musical genres seem to possess particular qualities dictating the appropriate time of day they can be played. Putting on a Napalm Death album early on a Sunday morning would be frowned upon by many for example. Love Rides a Dark Horse by Gill Landry is certainly a record that will impel the listener to reach out for it at a very specific time of the day. In the same way that the chiaroscuro pleasures of Key Largo or To Have and Have Not are impossible to switch off when you accidentally stumble upon them late at night, there is something incredibly dark, melancholy and intensely cinematic about Gill Landry’s latest album and it is these qualities which make it the perfect late-night companion and it’s veracious character can be enhanced even further if you’re sharing it with a keen-edged bottle of something dark and mysterious.
Landry’s past credentials speak for themselves, in particular his time spent with Old Crow Medicine Show, but it is his solo work that has really allowed the Louisiana native to plough his own distinctive musical furrow. This opportunity for individualism has become more and more apparent as his catalogue of records has increased and Love Rides A Dark Horse is Landry at his most revealing. Having said that, the record is very much a collaborative effort and Landry has enrolled a distinctive supporting cast of artists offering very different qualities that enhance the special pleasures inherent within the his cinematic narratives. The most cogent of these comes from First Aid Kit’s Klara Soderberg, who Gill Landry duets with impressively on the darkly palliative Berlin.
I swore to myself I wasn’t writing another goddamned broken-hearted love song, but then my lover took flight and I found myself alone, worn out, disillusioned, and heartbroken in a way I hadn’t known before, Gill Landry has said about the creation of this record. Tracks like Broken Hearts and Things We Never Know and The Woman You Are certainly possess the spirit of this worn out, disillusioned and heartbroken individual, but we are seduced by these cinematic journeys into the underworld of Landry’s psyche. It never felt like acting. I played the role by half he sings on this song and this is not the only time the album introduces these cinematic flourishes, making the album not only a vocally candid experience but a visually rich and evocative one that lingers long after the fire has burnt down and that bottle has been drained.
Love Rides A Dark Horse comes out on 6 October and Gill Landry will be touring with Rising Appalachia in the United States for the rest of the month, before a handful of dates in Sweden, Norway and the UK kick off in November. More details can be found at http://www.gilllandrymusic.com
Review by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto