The Devil Makes Three – “Drunken Hearted Man” (Singles Going Steady)

The first single from the Devil Makes Three's upcoming covers album is fast and upbeat while being lyrically really dark.

Chris Conaton: The first single from the Devil Makes Three’s upcoming covers album is fast and upbeat while being lyrically really dark. Par for the course with these guys. That banjo riff is killer, and the overall arrangement here is great. The mid-song guitar duet is very cool, and the subtle fiddle is a nice touch. Even Lucia Turino’s late song backing vocals are perfectly placed to enhance Pete Bernhard’s lead singing. 8/10

Pryor Stroud: Beginning with an extended croon that resembles the introductory wail-plea in Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”, The Devil Makes Three’s “Drunken Hearted Man” is a dust-coated, backcountry barn jam with its roots deeply lodged in the subconscious of traditional American music. Forged from elements of back-porch blues, blue-collar country, gruff folk, and straightforward rock ‘n’ roll, it brings nothing new to the table, but, since their eponymous debut in 2002, novelty has never really interested these alt-country revivalists. Lyrically, it disinters an agglomeration of narrative ideas closely associated with the earliest days of post-war popular music, ideas that, today, still resonate: filial piety, sexuality as blasphemy, love as misery, and a thematic preoccupation with alcohol. “I’m been dogged and I’ve been driven / Ever since I left my mother’s home / And I can’t see no reason why I can’t leave this no-good women alone,” Pete Bernhard sings, and the anti-hero he creates seems like the exact same developmentally arrested man-child from “Mannish Boy”; except here, there’s more nowhere-to-turn remorse than rabble-rousing self-acceptance. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: The Devil Makes Three create some pretty standard banjo and fiddle-fueled Americana folk blues here. The track definitely has a sense of authenticity, and a pretty faithful devotion to the craft. They’re fine musicians. Having said that, it’s somewhat unspectacular. Nothing you haven’t heard before. [6/10]

Jedd Beaudoin: The band has been kicking up a lot of dust in the Americana scene the last few years but has always left me a little indifferent. As much as I love this genre when I see drunk or drunken in the title and then hear banjo, it’s time to head for the snack bar. When are Americana bands going to start writing space operas and really banging some new life into the genre? At the very least there’s some authenticity to the Devil Makes Three and that has to count for something, right? [6/10]

Chad Miller: Pretty good song. There’s a lot of energy in this track due to the near constant hits of the claps and drums. The instrumentation has a nice balance and showcases a good variety of sounds, particularly the effective strings. [7/10]

The Devil Makes Three‘s new album Redemption & Ruin releases August 26th via New West Records.

SCORE: 6.60