By: Sarah Moore
Springtime is one of the best times to acquire new porch-sittin' music. With blues-roots, Americana influences and a drummerless setup, The Devil Makes Three bring some catchy stuff on their self-titled release. Singer-guitarist Pete Bernhard waxes backyard philosophical with a punk attitude, sometimes recalling G. Love and other times sounding like a hair metal frontman leading a roots outfit. Their mostly original tunes consist of beer-soaked odes to daytime drunkenness ("Shades"), meeting one's end ("The Plank") and whiskey ("Old Number Seven").
The band layers acoustic strumming by guitarist Cooper McBean (you can't make up a better name) and upright bassist Lucia Turino. The guitars sometimes take on a percussive quality as each strum is executed with a strong, controlled hand. "To the Hilt" displays these hard-hitting strides against Bernhard's grisly, nasal musings on our society's infatuation with and dependence on money. The song leaves the listener just as disgusted with greed as Bernhard is.
Four bonus tracks grace this remastered and repackaged reissue of their 2002 debut, including a cover of Mississippi John Hurt's (as added to by Taj Mahal) "Nobody's Dirty Business." Turino's low end takes center stage and all three members sing the old-time blues number with laidback harmonies. For a moment the listener is transported to the 1930s, though the sentiment still feels relevant today. The extra live tracks are not to be missed as the enthusiasm of the crowd (and most likely a few strong spirits) positively affects the trio's energy and approach.