The goal of this review is to see how many times I can use the word surly. That word describes everything about Black Highway by Tyler Keith and The Apostles, whether it’s the opening guitar riff that sounds like a jagged knife slicing through flesh for three and a half seconds or Tyler Keith’s surly snarl, you feel like you’re being assaulted or in jeopardy of being assaulted. And to me the threat is more frightening then the actual beatdown. But it seems I’ve gotten distracted.
In case you’re not sure what kind of surly I’m talking about just listen to the chorus in the first song, Desperate Measures. “Desperate measures / must be taken / in these desperate times.” It’s Keith’s voice here that makes me believe him, there is anger and recklessness and he doesn’t let up for the entire record. If you still can’t understand who he’s after or the shape he’s in fast forward to “Kid Twist” with the line, “I’ll stab you in the back / if you’re on my list / if you look at me sideways / I’ll give you my fist.” Surly, folks.
But it’s also important that included in the spit and vinegar is 12 well written songs that are played by a band that knows what it’s doing. There are surprising solos and shout along moments. The drummer sounds like he’s playing with steel toed boots on and he’s willing to use them on you if you aren’t paying attention. This is the kind of music that people aren’t paying attention say isn’t made anymore. And more people ought to being paying attention to the surly sounds of Tyler Keith and The Apostles.
Surly count: 6 and that’s enough to make this Essential Listening.