It’s been a strange few years for Two Gallants. The band, made up of lifelong friends Adam Haworth Stephens and Tyson Vogel, have been plenty candid about their falling out. In 2008 the pair took an indefinite hiatus, telling fans that their relationship had reached a state of disrepair. In the time since, both band members went the solo route, with Stephens releasing 2011’s We Live on Cliffs and Vogel writing and recording under the name Devotionals. Last year, the duo also made amends, vowing to get together and practice at the conclusion of Stephens’s solo tour. Then in November, en route home from a two-month-long cross-country trek, Stephens’s tour van hit a patch of ice along Interstate 80 in Wyoming and flipped. The accident dislocated Stephens’s shoulder, broke his rib, and left him with enough nerve damage to require months of physical rehabilitation.
“I couldn’t even put a guitar strap over my shoulder for a long time just because the pain was so intense,” said Stephens. “The accident was in November, and Tyson and I didn’t even get to play until April.”
When Two Gallants finally reunited, though, it was clear to both Vogel and Stephens why. “We were both pretty astonished by how easy it was just to fall back into the groove of things,” Stephens recalled. “Pretty much immediately we started working on new songs.”
This week, the band releases The Bloom and the Blight, their fourth album and first since 2007’s self-titled affair. Like past Gallants efforts, Bloom is marked by Stephens’s impassioned cries and Vogel’s frenetic drum work, but it also lays claim to the pair’s most intense and forceful guitar tones to date. “This one is more charged: It’s louder; it’s more aggressive,” said Stephens. “A lot of the songs on the album have the dichotomy of a light side and a dark side; they can be kind of grating, but then they also have this very peaceful, calming side to them.”
As Stephens sees it, it’s a dichotomy that speaks to both his and the band’s long road to recovery: “I think that we’re going to keep playing just because we enjoy playing,” he said. “I think that both of us feel like playing in this band is far more rewarding than anything we’ve ever done.”
Two Gallants headline SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Friday, August 31, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.