The Builders and The Butchers – Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well [Album Review]

by Woody on June 19, 2009


The Builders and The Butchers are back, so let’s start with some lyrics:

Close your eyes and you draw one more day to a close.
You choose to be alone. You float through your life as a ghost.
And everything heals given time. And everything dies given time.
And the scars run together, mixing the nerves with the blood.
And the soldiers light houses on fire and they burn down.
And all your belongings turn to dirt in the ground.
When your heart’s deep and dark as a well.
And everything that’s golden and green goes to hell.

And away we go kids, for another uplifting collection of tunes from Portland’s The Builders And The Butchers. The thing that initially drew me to B&B on their self-titled debut is how their storytelling transplants you to another place. Tunes likes “Bottom Of The Lake” and “Red Dresses” made me an immediate fan. As evident by the initial verse of “Golden And Green” shown above, Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well sees the boys moving forward with their bluegrass/punk music.

The Builders and Butchers are built around vocalist Ryan Sollee’s Southern-Gothic inspired lyrics backed by a host of instruments, including mandolin, pump organ, violin, stand-up bass, keys and whatever else they could find to bang on or slap together.‚  They revisit the Spanish Civil War on “Barcelona,” a song that features an excellent dose of trumpet that offsets the tension in Ryan’s vocals. It’s a brilliant composition and sign of the band’s progress. “In The Branches” is another winner that features a choir down the stretch, giving it a gospel vibe.

The music blends gospel, country, folk in a bouillabaisse of noise and sound that leaves you on edge, but wholly satisfied. Their bio has this to say about Salvation and I couldn’t have worded it any better: “The story of Salvation is a Deep Dark Well is that there’s joy and celebration through the darkness, there’s light in the hardest of times, and when you reach the bottom may salvation light your way.”

MySpace | Gigantic Music

The Builders and The Butchers – Barcelona

Listen to the entire album over at Spinner.

Video: The Builders And The Butchers and Portland Cello Project – Golden and Green

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

handstamp June 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

the song on the first album is Black Dresses… not Red Dresses.

oz June 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Good catch. Woody likes to keep people on their toes by mis-labeling songs and band members in every post.

Woody June 19, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I’m 39, did a whole mess of drugs in college and have three kids. At this point, you’re lucky I am able to differentiate the bands. That’s why I enlist a cracker-jack editor like Oz.

Radon Chong June 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

They do have a called “Red Hands” though (also excellent). Maybe you were thinking of that one.

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