Driving The Nails
Vigilantes of Love

Format: CD, Cassette

By Patrick Fitzgerald

The Vigilantes of Love from Athens, Ga., have released a new tape/CD that has a great acoustic feel and some of the best songs I've heard in along time. I can't get their nines out of my head and I've been learning their songs and playing them on my guitar ever since I got the tape.

The band's debut on CORE Entertainment sounds "just like something you'd go out and pay money for," as one of the fans (at their February 5 show at Snagilwet) was heard to say.

Singer-songwriter Bill Mallonee's tunes have an extremely open, honest, raw sound with a passion as well as disgust for modern-day life that sum up great ideas in a unique way. Some of the things have been said before, but they've never been said quite like this.

The title track, "Driving the Nail," is one of my favorites, with its open frustration with things in general. The rude but poignant "Lady Luck" has the passionate plea of the neo-traditional love song. "If I were a writer, I'd want you in my pen, If I were a junkie, I'd want you in my syringe Something let me drown, Lord, in your river of blood and grace, I know that I'm leperous, but hold me anyway." Bill's songs have the uncanny knack for asking questions that defy simple answers: "Father, why do I feel like a casualty?"

"Don't Lose Your Guns" is a tender and real plea to a child to not lose faith in the world but not to get swallowed up either:

You are my pride, child

And yes you are my crown

How to keep the darkness

From draggin' you down

I feel the weight of what! Am

And what I am not yet

And I'd like to pass on something

Besides these deficits.

Don't lose your guns.

Several record stores in town have gotten demo copies of the tape and you may have to ask them to order it, but it is one of the best new recordings I've heard in some time and worth the trouble.