Fangs and Twang combine frighteningly good musical chops with tongue in cheek tales from the crypt on their latest album called Spirits and Chasers.
Fangs and Twang – Spirits and Chasers
My introduction to Fangs and Twang came when I saw them a few years ago opening for Captain Ivory. They won my heart with old school country and rock-n-roll music set to rollicking tales of mummies, vampires, and werewolves. I mean songs about heartbreak and loss are great, but who doesn’t want to hear about Swamp thing and his forbidden love? When the band let me know that they had a new album called Spirits and Chasers, I was more than happy to listen and share my thoughts with you.
Meet The Band
Fangs and Twang are Andy Benes (guitar, mandolin), Billy LaLonde (drums), and Joe Bertoletti (bass). They all share vocal duties. Helping them out in the studio on piano and organ is Loren Kranz. Covering the fiddle is Mark Wallace and Colin Murphy. Spirits and Chasers was born at Willis Sound with Jim Roll handling the engineering. Fangs and Twang did a very nice job on this album with a nice clean mix.
Digging into Spirits and Chasers
Grab yourself a beer or your favorite spirit and pop in your copy of Spirits and Chasers. You all set? Alright, then let’s dig into this little monster.
Opening with the title track “Spirits and Chasers” you get a taste of the wit which makes Fangs and Twang endearing. The band shines in songwriting and playing. They conjure the country greats like Jerry Reed, Johnny Cash, and Marty Robbins. The story of a ghost stuck in limbo until he is freed to enter heaven, sticks to the overall Fangs and Twang themes. However, the song writing allows them to transcend (no pun intended). Lyrics such as “But when you go, you have to pay your debts. When you cash out, settle all your bets. It was a fact I didn’t know; they wouldn’t let me go. Their only payment they take is regret” is golden.
Unleashing the Swamp Thing
One of my favorite songs on this album is “The Ballad of the Legend of the Saga of Swamp Thing”. Just saying the title makes you smile and think “What the hell???”. The song lets Fangs and Twang splash into jam band waters with country-rock guitar licks and progressive fiddle playing.
Did you know there is a Loch Ness type monster in Canada? Either did I until I googled the Fangs and Twang song called “Ogo Pogo”. The waltzing groove gives this song bounce which accentuates this lake monster love song. If this song doesn’t get you swaying on the dance floor, then you may need another beer (or two).
Godzilla is Metal
The killer cut on Spirits and Chasers, is Fangs and Twang’s cover of “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult. The song starts out like a straight up cover with the burly power chords and rocking beat, then comes the switcheroo. Fangs and Twang pop into a lively country train beat which turns this classic rocker into a fleet-footed country jam. This country locomotive runs down the tracks at full-speed as Godzilla tears up Tokyo. This song is a monster!
As many of you know, I’m a metalhead at heart. To say I was intrigued when I saw the song titled “Country Metal” would be an understatement. A chugging rhythm with a wailing wah-wah fiddle saturated in distortion gets you primed for a metallic country adventure. However, Fangs and Twang throw another curve ball and you find yourself in warped play on “I’m a Little Bit Country” by Donnie and Marie. The song is all about puppy love between a smitten pooch who falls for a hellhound. Of course, the song is a pantload of fun with comic lyrics and stellar riffs.
The flames of old school country music and roots rock and roll burn hot with Fangs and Twang. Their new album Spirits and Chasers finds the band mixing up a scary awesome batch of twisted country. Their songs may seem light-hearted, but the performance and writing is top-notch.
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