Gallon Drunk staggered and swaggered through the ’90s in tattooed-knuckle style, a highly combustible combination of pomade, tobacco and artificial fibers, all liable to go up in flame at any second. On The Soul of the Hour, the follow-up to their 2012 release The Road Gets Darker from Here, however, the London band sounds poised and watchful. “Over and Over” and “The Speed of Fear” betray the influence of the six years frontman James Johnston spent playing with Faust. The entrancing “Dust in the Light” is the album’s obvious oddity — a hazy, off-beam ballad that, absurdly but effectively, seems to have let Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” seep into its subconscious. If their profile as sharp-suited men about the worst parts of town has dwindled in the past decade, their musical impulses have lost none of their snap and spark, as the Iggy Pop writhe-and-twitch of “The Exit Sign” or the thumb-pricking build of opener “Before the Fire,” nine minutes of suggestive drums and smothering piano, attest. The Soul of the Hour could still start a fight or a fire in the blink of an eye.
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