Vandoliers “Forever” (Bloodshot, 2019)

All six band members of this Dallas-Fort Worth troupe have a VFFV tattoo (Vandoliers Forever, Forever Vandoliers). Now that’s a sign of commitment, which is evidenced immediately on this album by raucous enthusiasm.Vandoliers’  third album is noisey and driven. Their first on Bloodshot, the accompanying big push from the Chicago based record label is inevitably going to break their sound through. Joshua ‘Fireball’ Fleming has the kind of growl/croak that makes you reach for a Fisherman’s Friend, but he sounds like he means every last gnarr, and that gets followers.

Border music tends to bring Calexico to mind, but their genre-blending sound brought endless empty desert and tumbleweed to mind. This brand of Tex/Mex blows that away, blending cowpunk – Old 97’s an acknowledged influence – with fierce fiddle and plenty of horns, the mariachi on red dirt giving half the songs a distinctive spin. There is not much subtlety here, more a boisterous fiesta. ‘Troublemaker’ could be The Pogues in Juarez. ‘Cigarettes In The Rain’ represents rare respite, with a sound more akin to Blackberry Smoke. ‘Forever’ is Tejano two-step with grit.

VFFV -Vandoliers Forever, Forever Vandoliers

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