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2023 Albums Thing #014 - Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires “Youth Detention (Nail My Feet Down To The Southside Of Town)”

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The very first things I heard by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires were tracks from this album. My friend Paul Cookson had been at a festival where he had seen the band and posted a video on Facebook along with the legend “My new favourite band”. The video had the Glory Fires playing “Sweet Disorder!” And “Black & White Boys” live in a studio, no audience. It took me about 20 seconds of them playing to figure out what Paul meant and to realise this was the most exciting thing I’d seen and heard in quite some time (I’ve linked that video below as well as a track from the album). 

This album was very quickly purchased (on delicate Pink vinyl this time) and I quickly realised those two songs were no flash in the pan, this generous 17 song album was packed full of them. It opens with some of that fury hanging over from “Dereconstructed”, “Breaking It Down” see’s Lee Bains almost stumbling over his lyrics he has that much to say and I still marvel that he manages to fit the line “O, children, how do we scrap globalist American plutocracy and build us a magic city?” into the gospel-ish call and response chorus of “Sweet Disorder!”.

“Good Old Boy” is a pure hardcore Punk howl; “Black And White Boys” you can hear below and then out come the acoustic guitars for the Side 1 ending “Whitewash”. 

Side 2 kicks off with “Underneath The Sheets Of White Moie” with its rolling, circular feeling riff. “I Heard God” reins things in a little and feels like a really important point on this record where all the fury, and Southern Gothic come together.

Then we reach what is likely my favourite (among many) on here as “Crooked Letters” closes out side 2. It starts out with a class of young children chanting what I imagine is a rhyme used to remember a spelling (like the scene in “Matilda” with the rhyme to remember how to spell difficulty), you work it out…

M - I - crooked letter, crooked letter - I - crooked letter, crooked letter - I - humpback, humpback - I…

This chant is gradually chopped up and becomes the loop that the song is based around tied to another of those slinky hypnotic riffs the Glory Fires are so good at. It’s the tale of a Middle Eastern boy dumped into a Southern school and builds from a slow start to a great crescendo.

As we head toward the close title-ish track “Nail My Feet To The Southside Of Town” tells the tale of how they got where they are and their love of their hometown and “The Picture Of A Man” is a most introspective ballad full of the hope that our oppressors will “fade to black”. The albums closes out with “Save My Life!” In which after all the anger and introspection that has come before we’re told “Don’t you tell me, “It’s only rock’n’roll”, When I’ve seen it wrestle truths from noise, Save my life!

There’s a lot more light and shade on this album which, sound wise, is a perfect amalgam of the previous two. It was recorded almost entirely live in the studio. this means some of the subtleties of the lyrics are lost in the live thrash, and there’s a lot to digest in Lee Bains tumbling almost stream of consciousness lyrics, if you’re going to listen to this record head over to gloryfires.com and keep the lyrics to hand. It keeps me, at least, coming back for more time after time. This is a great album and probably my most listened to album of the past 3 years, give it a try ?

Sweet Disorder! and Black & White Boys - https://youtu.be/SgOe3vsqVoM

Crooked Letters - https://youtu.be/_FFiwsB58WI

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