Oh, the Blood Did Fall

Bandoleer Prison
HAMMER & SAW

If Jack Fry’s salmon was served navy blue, would it still be the best plate of food in the city? Certainly Shakespeare said that better, but herein is the initial confusion of Bandoleer Prison’s debut, Oh, the Blood Did Fall. The stark black and white artwork, brooding band name and disc title do a disservice and lie to potential listeners of what is a brow-furrowing and interesting record. That the raised brow is based on the schism between artwork and sonics takes a couple spins to reset expectations. Simply, it looks like a heavy metal album. Instead, we’re treated to a lo-fi Tom Waits-meets-The-Pogues tribute. The brothers Powell (Shane, Luke, Aaron and William, with friend Tom Leffler) defy categorization, following their muse across genre lines. The bluegrass of “Falling Down” sits between the Blood Money dirges of “Cemetery Man” and “Damp Sugar.” Why? It fit. It’s easy to wish for a better mix and mastering, and more honest artwork, but that’s nothing a handful of shows couldn’t pay for. Bandoleer Prison is a band to watch.