The Devil Makes Three: Do Wrong Right

By: Sarah Hagerman

All hail, all hail
To the greatest of sales
Everything inside has to be sold
All hail, all hail
Because it's to work or to jail
Man, they're closing them doors on the world

If we're going to get through this so-called "New Depression," we're going to need some troubadours to sing our survival tales. The Devil Makes Three fit that bill perfectly on latest offering Do Wrong Right (released April 21 on Milan Records), giving voice to those firewater nights that bleed into the horrendous crash of daylight, splitting headaches and tremors before we pick ourselves up to do it all over again. The Santa Cruz acoustic trio likes their old timey timbre served up raw and rambunctious, swinging with more bar room attitude and gutbucket tread than folk singer sighs and flourished picking. This sound breaks a bottle over your head when you roll into the local watering hole all misty-eyed with your stories of pretty mountains and pretty girls. The instrumental work drives something fierce, the vocals are strapping, and practically spit in your face at times, and the left hook lyrical content makes you see stars. Combined with criminally catchy melodies, this is an album that sticks in your head – and your feet – long after it's spun.

These cats can tell some tales, whether singing of worldly woe ("All Hail"), getting wasted ("Gracefully Facedown") or wiring wry dispatches from the starving artist scene ("For Good Again"). There's refreshing humor infused in many tracks, at once acerbic and celebratory. For example, on "For Good Again," they sing, "You wouldn't believe the things that my friend Eric put us through/ He had a power point presentation about this girl he wanted to do." It's a guffaw-worthy line for sure, but Eric also comes leaping to life in those words. Similarly, the tragic rambling man in the lovely country tear shedder "Car Wreck" travels through our hearts as he tries to keep running. Closing out the album, it's a tempered moment of sadness that fits thematically with the flesh and blood explorations of folks stuck in their place and trying to make the most of it, whether through partying, playing music or kicking at those walls in a variety of often dubious ways. Although they may be lying in the gutter, to paraphrase a wiser feller than myself, their saucer pupils are shooting skyward towards that expansive twinkle. Yet, this band's sharply focused lens ultimately remains trained at ground level, and in these strange times, if you're feeling dizzy from job loss, love loss or blood loss, just pull up a stool and toss this down the hatch.

The Devil Makes Three is currently on an extensive national tour. Find dates here.

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[Published on: 5/13/09]

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