THE DEVIL'S SONS - BROKEN BONES, BOTTLES AND HEARTS
The Devil’s Sons - ‘Broken Bones, Bottles and Hearts’
Released: August 19th 2022
Reviewed by Kate, 20th September 2022
The Devil’s Sons are:
Rob Stevenson (Keyboard/Vocals)
Johhny Crash (Drums)
Brad Graves (Vocals/guitars)
Fernando D’Los Diablos (Bull fiddle/vocals)
Carmen Jak (guitars/Vocals)
A friend of mine once told me that the only good things to come out of Canada were ‘The Brains and poutine on fries’. While I was immediately cynical of his opinion (Canada is home to the mighty Raygun Cowboys, for one), this album definitively proves that there is another tremendous Canadian export: The Devil’s Sons. The five-piece tell their own story of how the band formed: ‘In the city of E-ville, Deadmonton Hellberta, under a fiery glow of a blood moon in October 2014, with autumn rust igniting the landscape like a massive funeral pyre, The Devil’s Sons were spawned. Playing psychotic Rock n’ Roll with elements of punk, metal and, of course, psychobilly, they create demonic sounds resonating from the belly of the beast himself.’ From that myth, you’d be forgiven for thinking their sophomore album would be gothic, but if you sent Pennywise and Supersuckers on a biker trip at the stroke of midnight to visit Djordje Stijepovic then the product would be much closer to the sound of this extraordinarily beefy record.
Time to guide you through the intensity of this album:
‘Broken Bones, Bottles and Hearts’: If you aren’t won over in the first thirty seconds of the title track with the wailing hammond organ, growling vocals and muscular guitar riff, then you might be as dead as one of the outlaws described in the lyrics. For a band with such a huge sound, this song is so well balanced with pretty much everything you’d want from the rock n roll end of psychobilly.
‘L.E.D’: Brad’s snarling on this one drags us into the energy of this really fast song and channels a far healthier Sparky Phillips…if you wished Demented Are Go would have a ridiculous amount of energy, then this is the song for you. Johhny is an absolute demon on this song, and I can only imagine how much wrecking goes on at a Devil’s Sons show. This is the first single release from the record, and I can see why they chose it.
‘Cave In’: A slower one, but not by much, about the evil psychobilly witch who stalks through many bands’ songs. This is a good point to pause and talk about the bass, as this is the first song not to prominently feature slap bass, and it makes you appreciate how elsewhere it’s been used so effectively
‘More Stitches than Friends’: This is a very deceptive song! The first minute is a Mike Ness-style country tune, then it bursts into life and continues in that Social Distortion vein for another three enjoyably swear-filled minutes. The little piano flourishes tie in with Fernando’s bass to keep the runaway guitar in check. ‘More Stitches than Friends’ is just a really fun song, and is the second single release from this album.
‘Setting the Night on Fire’: We’ve got brass, we’ve got vocals in Spanish, we’ve got a really dance-able beat…what more could you want? It’s a great party song with a punchy ending.
‘Devils Don’t Disco’: The break’s over and we get back to serious business with this intense instrumental that showcases the guitar and bass work that Devil’s Sons are bringing to the stage.
‘Backstabber’: This has to be the next single, it just has to be. We have aggressive punk lyrics delivered in a full-throated yell, balanced by some lovely brass work and a shout-along chorus, and it shows a band who’ve really hit their stride.
‘Long Black Veil’: This cover owes more to Mike Ness again than it does to Johnny Cash’s original, but by increasing the tempo of this song about a man who allowed himself to be executed rather than break up a marriage we get something that’s a tribute to the greats and dips a toe into honky-tonk waters. The fact they’ve done something original with this older classic shows the Devils’ Sons versatility and jumps into the psychobilly tradition of throwing in a reworked cover.
‘Wake The Dead’: We’re back with another spooky road-tune and the pounding verses are really strong here. “I’m the prize-fighter that lost the bout,” sneers Brad over a rhythm that touches on folk-punk and we believe in the atmosphere that the band create here. I’d love to see what they do with this song live as I get the feeling the studio recording doesn’t capture the full power.
‘Don’t Send Me No Flowers’: This cover of the 1965 Breakers song is an improvement on the original, making the protagonist’s lament into something sinister and creepy with a rocking beat and throaty vocals. This is such a powerful closer to the album and has to be a big, jumpy feature of their live sets. This deserves to be a single too, and to make it’s way into some ‘Best of New Psychobilly’ playlists!
‘Broken Bones, Bottles and Hearts’ is a really fun record that shows a relatively young band going in a new, more motoring direction and the Devil’s Sons current shamefully low hit count on Spotify tells me that these guys are going to explode soon. Get in on the ground floor and learn the words to ‘More Stitches Than Friends’ before every rock bar gets ahold of the latest single and claim your scene points by telling everyone you heard of this brilliant, rock n roll meets psychobilly group first.