Jeffrey Dallet – Acid Tongue Review: Rock and Roll to Save Your Soul

Sometimes, it’s the wail of a guitar that can set the perfect mood. Other times, it’s a sunny bass-led bop that bounces with glee. Jeffrey Dallet’s style of storytelling perfectly illustrates this in his latest album, Acid Tongue. The folk-rock musings of Dallet aren’t afraid to tell stories while the instrumentals paint you the pictures and set the mood, which can be an engrossing experience. From the very beginning, a new release of Gypsy Jewel plunges us headfirst into the newest set of stories Dallet has to tell. From there we hit the ground running with the first track, Sweet Cindy.

Sweet Cindy grabs you from the top, with a commanding “That’s cuz she is a men-tal case!” The smooth, distorted guitar that follows is one-upped only by the poppy percussions. As synths begin to reveal themselves, it’s hard to not get lost in the bouncy beat. It’s even harder to resist the catchy lyrics, especially when the jingle from the beginning comes full circle in lines such as “I lap it all up I’m a complete disgrace, I dig that she’s a men-tal case!” By the time the track is over, you’ll want to hear it again.

Sinners Dance follows it. A slow, smooth piano intro is accompanied by slow guitar strums. When the vocals hit, they grip you and never let you go with lines such as “crimson stains from blood-drenched tears carve canyons down his face.” It’s a poetic track with a guitar solo around the 4 minute mark that hits like a freight train as it smoothly wails while the bass creeps underneath. A total changeover in mood and sound from the last two tracks, whose personality makes it a stand-out. The next track, Psalms of Freedom, proves that it also has its own message to send. 

A heavy bass leads you in accompanied by subtle guitar licks and a bouncy percussion. The track is bouncy, but in a different way from Sweet Cindy and carries a much more somber and heartfelt tone. The deep bass defines the track, keeping the mood set by hard-hitting lyrics such as “you’re taking my children to upstage the ruthless, for dictators start with a heart that has never been born.” It’s a powerful track with the same alluring qualities as the previous ones, which makes its heavy tone just as memorable.

A faded Star-Spangled Banner leads you into the next track, 45 Song, as the guitar begins to strum over it with a roaring applause before the lyrics hit. The track has a poppy and sunny beat, with a bouncy bass that’s easy to groove to. It serves as a nice juxtaposition to the lyrics, whose grim tone is reflected in lines such as “capital crooks cook the books for the sadists, who buy up the promise and the sale on souls” and the chorus “praise the lord and pass the ammunition, it’s in the name of freedom so it can’t be wrong!” It’s a fun and engaging track which brings back the tone from Sweet Cindy after the brief album intermission.

City At Night finishes off the album. The busy city intro does a good job to reflect the mood of the track as the harmonica takes charge. The gentle strumming that leads into it carries throughout the track to keep the soft aesthetic of the track. The track is a tour-de-force of personality and storytelling when the beat picks up, and creates a mood that reflects the quick pace of the city but heartfelt and inviting enough to feel the passion of the lyrics. The wide variety of instrumentals used never breaks the mood of the track, but rather reflects the part of the story being told to create a compelling experience. The song hits hard and shows what it’s got when you hear lines such as “the barmaid doles you another round and the one you really want is not to be found” and “in the blackened bar full of guts and stones, roam remains of lovers that we once called our own.”

Acid Tongue is an excellent listen from start to finish. The wild, sunny aesthetic of Jeffrey Dallet shines through as a signature on nearly every track, leaving others that deviate from it such as Noche Cuervo free to bring in a wholly unique sound. It makes the album feel robust and shows off the musicianship of the band. This says nothing of the wonderful stories that each track tells individually, with some of them being very heavy such as Psalms of Freedom. Anyone who gives Acid Tongue a listen is sure to be hooked from the top and more than one of these excellent tracks will likely be making it onto your playlist.

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