The Murder Folk maestro Amigo The Devil returns to remind us of the woe of reality with Born Against.
Amigo the Devil is Danny Kiranos. In live performances he stands alone on the stage, usually alternating between an acoustic guitar and a banjo to accompany his solitary voice. His music is most often described as Murder Folk because of the subjects he sings about. If you asked me, I would call it Acoustic Doom.
Several EPs have been issued and a couple of compilations came out to gather them up. In 2018 the full-length album Everything Is Fine appeared, and now we have Born Against. The themes Kiranos explores are sometimes unusually graphic in the context of the musical delivery and that aspect will grab your attention. What you stay for, though, is the depth of the feeling conveyed and human story that underlies it all.
Two singles appeared before the album dropped, “Another Man’s Grave” and “Quiet As A Rat.” The former is delivered in beautiful troubadour style and is the perfect example of the juxtaposition I was referring to – the singing and the theme seem at odds. Of course, they really aren’t, are they? That might just be part of the point. In the latter, the Chicago-jazz style gives the song more of a playful background for the violence that is described. The video for this song is truly inspired – drop everything now and watch it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it yet.
You’ll recognize the singles, then, when you listen to the album, but don’t gloss over the rest of the set. My favorites are “Murder In The Bingo Hall” and “24K Casket” in the up-tempo category and “Different Anymore” along with “Shadow” in the more somber lane. Even so, every track is memorable. I recognize something in my life, my history, or myself in every song. Kiranos is giving voice to things we feel but that we choose to hold in silence. It is good to hear it aloud, even if the truth is hard to take.
Born Against is out now. Buy it on Bandcamp or hit the link to the website for Amigo The Devil and there are links to everywhere else there, too. Highly recommended.
Live photo by Wayne Edwards, 2019 Sonic Temple Festival.