Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Youth Detention (Nail My Feet Down To The Southside Of Town) album review

by Woody on July 17, 2017

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires Band Photo

A few weeks back, Jason Isbell was interviewed by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. At one point during the interview, Noah acknowledges his preconceived notions of what Isbell’s beliefs should be based on his Alabama accent. It was an interesting observation and one that also translates to the music of The Glory Fires. Bains is a native of Birmingham, AL but his music and political leanings bristles with the energy that you’d associate with a punk band from Brooklyn. As Isbell retorts to Noah during that interview about his history with DBT and them being a “bunch of nasty punk rockers.” A statement that also translates very well to The Glory Fires.

The songs on Youth Detention walk the razor’s edge between his deep love of his home and criticisms of the many issues that he feels hold it back. The lyrics are pointed and not shy about their beliefs, but they don’t come across as preachy. Most of the issues he tackles – racism, greed, urban blight, religious hypocrisy – are ones that I stand firmly behind him. But even the ones that I don’t, I find his delivery compelling enough; sort of like disagreeing on subtleties with a good friend.

As for the music, the album is really well done. I dig it more than his last effort, Dereconstructed. Too often his lyrics were buried too deep beneath the din which could make it a bit of a challenge. Here, the production and mixing by Jeremy Ferguson, Tim Kerr and Lynn Bridges loses none of the ferocity of Dereconstructed but allows Bains’ vocals to always come across.

The double LP spans 17 tracks and there are some real gems here. Whitewash, a tune about the racial status quote, is a real standout as they slow things down a bit, really letting the twang shine through. The title track is a slow-building track that culminates with an anthemic flourish, very Patterson Hood. Crooked Letters is another stand-out. Using a recording of kids learning the tricks of spelling Mississippi, Bains delivers another winner that is sure to be great in a live setting. Towards the end of the album, Bains delivers a hopeful acoustic track, The Picture Of A Man, that hopes that the next generation can be better.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lee a few times. Always greets me a smile and a genuine hello. Really happy to see him but out such a great album.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Lee Bains is here

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