The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has returned with Between the Ditches. While not as immediately captivating as The Whole Fam Damnily, the new album stays true to the backwoods clamor and homespun lyrical observations of the band’s previous releases. There’s a subtlety to the noise this time around and a bit more blues.
“Devils Look Like Angels” is the perfect opener for this album. It’s rough, cynically humorous and very catchy – all of the things that made us love the Big Damn Band to begin with. There’s also a funky blues undertone and a discordant twang that gives the song an eerie mood.
“Something For Nothing” mingles that splash of blues with the Rev’s signature raucous swamp stomp. I’m once again left to daydream about a Reverend Peyton and Black Joe Lewis collaboration.
“We’ll Get Through” is a sweet ballad about a struggling couple whose love is strong enough to survive anything. I doubt it’s a coincedence that a picture Reverend Peyton’s wife and bandmate, Breezy, is next to the lyrics in the liner notes. Breezy also sings harmony on the song.
“Shake Em Off Like Fleas” is quaking blues-rock accented with a quasi-gospel beat and lyrics that simmer with the righteous anger of the trampled upon common people.
“Don’t Grind It Down” masks a lyrical mountaintop removal protest with a jaunty acoustic rhythm, while the meth addict narrative “The Money Goes” rides on a freight train of harmonica.
Some of the other tracks are a bit monotonous lyrically, but are obviously designed to make the feet tap and the hands clap in concert. Between the Ditches is a worthy addition to the awesome catalogue of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.