The Denver Gentlemen
Introducing the Denver Gentlemen
The Denver Gentlemen are more American Gothic than a turn-of-the-century Holiness Preacher's dead corpse on a pile of rattlesnakes. The music on Introducing… carouses around, drunk-in- the-spirit, like a calliope manned by the ghost of a circus master. It has the sound of a Danny Elfman musical score for one of Tim Burton's movies (especially The Nightmare Before Christmas).
In the world of alt-country, The Denver Gentleman are about as odd as it gets (barring maybe the Bloodshot Records band Devil in a Wood Pile). There are hints of 16 Horsepower, but no other band could be compared too aptly with The Gents. Weird, weird stuff. But for lack of direct comparisons, here's some more images that come to mind when hearing this LP: early '70s Bryan Ferry fronting a 19th century haunted minstrel show… Picture Will Oldham on amphetamines leading a funeral procession in New Orleans… or, perhaps, a more frightening, macabre Neutral Milk Hotel or Smoke.
All that said, this disc gets high marks for originality, and like other acts such as The Danielson Famile, The Shaggs, or 16 Horsepower, they'll probably gain avid, cultish fans or fervent enemies. In fact, over the years the band has been a sort of critics' darling. No wonder, The Gentlemen's lineup has included the likes of Slim Cessna and Frank Hauser Jr., as well as folks from 16 Horsepower. Established in the Denver area, they're now deservedly gaining ground throughout the US and Canada.
For adventurous spirits who want to look deeper into the spooky side of alt-country, The Denver Gentleman are a find. They'll appeal to every fan of underworldly Americana. A rare and fantastic addition to anyone's collection.
Absalom Recordings, PO Box 38612, 3299 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON, M2K 2Y5, Canada, http://www.absalomrecordings.com
Randall J. Stephens