One of my issues with Kanye West’s music, specifically his last couple albums, Yeezus and ye, is that when it comes to that music, I just don’t know what to do with it. Unlike his earlier work, music that had a time and a place to it, situations in which the songs applied to, the stuff he has released in recent years leaves me at a loss. I just don’t know when you’d listen to either of those albums. This isn’t a knock on their quality, which I think is just okay. But it is a knock on the functionality of those albums. I’m a firm believer that the reason why music works so well is that it generally applies to a variety of situations, it’s a soundtrack to the movie of your choosing. For instance, early Kanye had a place in your life when you were out with friends or celebrating an occasion or driving fast down an open road. It made sense that way. New Kanye makes no sense that way.
On the other side of the world are the Mallet Brothers Band, a band that exists quite literally on the other side of the world from Kanye. They’re not flashy or loud or to the best of my knowledge, interested in launching a clothing line, although in 2018 very little would surprise me anymore. Most importantly, the Mallet Brothers Band continue to release albums that make sense in the way Kanye’s don’t. Whether intentional or not, the six piece alt-country rockers from the great state of Maine, produce albums that seem tailor made for specific situations; albums that have a place in your daily life. They write songs that fit alongside you as you sit around a campfire or drive down a dusty back road. They are the soundtrack to the summer, the musical accompaniment of fall, the warm comfort of winter and the trusted confident of spring.
On their latest album, Vive l’acadie!, their sixth, the band continues along this chosen path of theirs, producing another rock solid album of twangy-tinged goodness. The album is more akin to 2015’s Lights Along the River than 2017’s The Falling of the Pine, which was a delightful collection of re-worked versions of traditional hymns from deep within the Maine woods. Vive l’acadie!, has the band turning up the volume up again and producing songs like “Good as It Gets,” which is as gritty of a rambler that the band has ever put out there. It smells like sweat and saw dust. It looks like a black eye and a lost tooth. It’s gnarly.
Stacked up next to The Falling of the Pine, Vive l’acadie! shows a band willing to dig deep into their tool box and use everything that’s in there. They can get gentle when they need to, kick down doors when the situation calls for it. They have different speeds, something that will no doubt prove beneficial for them as they continue to make music.
But back to this soundtrack for situations thing, the thing that separates the Mallet Brothers Band from Kanye West, among other things. Back when they released their third album, Land, in 2013, I debuted the Mallet Brothers Band Drinking Companion, a guide for the album told through what good time drink would go best with each song. With Lights Along the River, I elected to separate the songs into two categories: driving song or campfire song, but with The Falling of the Pine I went with booze again. It just made sense.
With Vive l’acadie!, I’m going back to booze. I’m sorry. I listen to the Mallet Brothers Band and it makes me want to have a drink. Just one of those things I guess. I’m not going to question science. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to associate a drinking and/or drinking situation with each song on the Mallet Brothers Band’s new album. And I’m going to do it via .gifs because it’s super hot and it’s Tuesday and the world is terrible. Enjoy.
“Long Black Braid”
“Too Much Trouble”
“Good as It Gets”
“Timberline (High Times)”
“Few More Dozen Roses”
“Headed Home” (the first part of the song)
“Headed Home” (the second part of the song)