Inspired by storytellers such as Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Fiona Apple. Amigo The Devil is the pseudonym of Danny Kiranos, known for his deep, challenging and emotive yet often humorous lyrics. He has further evolved as a songwriter, resulting in his new album ‘Born Against’ taking on a vivid and cinematic feel to the tales told of flawed protagonists inhabited by Kiranos himself. Assisted by producer Beau Bedford at the Modern Electric Sound Recorders studio in Dallas, the songs on ‘Born Against’ feature beautifully melodies and his haunting voice.
‘Small Stone’ a slow and ominous start with lonely piano and gentle vocals delivered with a hint of distortion. Not that you can cover up that emotional tinge baritone of his. Something this track shows off as it morphs into a classic crooner with full on orchestra and dramatic percussion. The ability to transmit emotion is one of Kiranos’s appeal and I dare you to stop listening to this mans brilliance once he lets loose that heart wrenching baritone of his. Wether recounting gambling addiction with ‘Murder At The Bingo Hall’ or internal emotions with Another Man’s Grave.
The Tom Waits comes out of in with this junk yard assemble of horns and guitar on ‘Quiet As A Rat’. One of the tracks where you can appreciate his beautiful way with words and melodic delivery. “And everyone treats commandments like more like a bucket list soI’ve been been asking why I was born against?”
Murder At The Bingo Hall with its disco rhythm is a funny and unique take on gambling addiction. His turn of phrase is clever and witty which carries over onto the next track ‘Drop For Every Hour’. With its slight Mexican flavour this murder folk ballad of righteous justice is infectious as it is funny that hides a deeper message hidden underneath the lyrics.
‘Different Anymore’ with its romantic chord changes and a solemn drop beat and heart wrenching lyrics of not wanting to be, “Different anymore” with some ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ wailing to finish things off. This is territory where Kiranos really excels. He has a talent to break your heart or make you laugh with just one line.
With a superb vocal performance ‘Another Man’s Grave’ is everything I love about this mans work. A beuatiful written track which has you sitting up and listening to his wonderful word play. “Like I’m biting the gun but the safety is on. And I threw up the pills I ate” There is strings that sweep and move you but it’s his voice that captures you as he merges with the songs character reflecting on not living a life thats true to hisself.
The wide ranging themes incorporated into this album is also another shining point. ‘Different Anymore’ and ‘Another Man’s Grave’ highlighting internal demons. Tackling death and the point of money on ’24k Casket’ with its banjo led barn dance to the short tale of torture told with a beautiful melody on ‘Better Ways To Fry A Fish’. It’s a short track but it does sum this album up.
The last two tracks end this album on a thoughtful note. ‘Shadow’ is slow and mournful with the junk yard breaking through with strummed guitar and shimmering organ. Ending the album with the deeply moving ‘Letter From Death Row’ sees Kiranos turn his mind to the final thoughts of a life summoned up and loved ones left behind in this captivating story put to picked guitar and whispering banjo. The track fades out an album and you suddenly hit with the cold water shock of reality after the albums immersing experience.
His lyrical brilliance shines once again on this new album. Kiranos is far from a one trick pony though as the music the lyrics are set too is every inch as good. Throw in the captivating vocal performance and you have an album that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Check out the track, Quiet As A Rat, below:
Order the album here