Mining Lite/Thirty Tigers
The Feistiest Country Album of the Last 10 Years!
We absolutely loved Angaleena Presley’s debut album AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS and it’s still firmly ensconced in the company car for those long road trips through the Heartlands of NE England.
After such a strong record it’s wise to be cautious of any follow up but…….right from the sigh that opens the raw and heartfelt Dreams Don’t Come True you know we are still in the same Blue Collar/Friday Night Lights small town America territory. In fairness the sentiment of kids struggling to emulate their parents ‘successes’ that scratches your heart on this song are true of youngsters all over the world; and the weary tune and Angaleena’s breathy vocals set the scene very nicely indeed.
Who knows where Traditional Country Music ends and Alt. Country begins; but Ms. Presley straddles both genres with ease on songs like Only Blood and Good Girl Down among many others here. This song also happens to be the first time that Angaleena and her friends and Pistol Annies Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe have written together for a long while; and….their class shows.
While Angaleena is very much her own woman and pretty much has her own distinctive ‘sound’ her subject matter and the punchy way she gets her message across on Outlaw, Bless My Heart and the title track WRANGLED evokes memories of Loretta Lynn, Bobbie Gentry and more recently Elizabeth Cook. I don’t know if this is ‘feminist’ writing or whatever; but the women in Presley’s songs are all as tough as old rope but with hearts the size of Texas…..but don’t mess with them.
As is my won’t I played the album 2 or 3 times before reading the accompanying notes; so went “AHA!” when I read that the grizzled voice that opens Cheer Up Little Darling is none other than Guy Clark, who actually co-wrote this beautiful ode with Angaleena and features his self-made guitar and mandola played by Shawn Camp in the Great Man’s style; adding extra pathos to an already tearjerker of a song.
Angaleena co-wrote all 12 tracks and the depth of material shows what an exceptional talent she is; especially our two favourite songs.
Mrs. Magpie insists that High School is as good as anything she’s ever heard, as it details those ‘secrets’ that schools and towns have and try to keep; but never do. The first character attempts to hide her pregnancy and there’s a sports-jock popping pills to try and emulate his hero, father. Sadly, a sign of the times, but the way Angaleena turns this soap opera into a song is extraordinary.
I’m not 100% certain why; but I love the spirited way Angaleena cranks up the tension on Mama I Tried. Electric guitars instead of acoustic help get the message across as she sounds like she’s so angry phlegm is coming out with the words……powerful stuff indeed.
There’s only one flaw on the album; but it’s a biggie. Half way through there’s a rocker called Country; what’s wrong with that you ask? Well for some reason it’s a collaboration with a Hippity-Hoppitty Rapper called Yelawolf and….well…..his part really, really jars with everything else here. The song don’t need him….it will be a showstopper anyways; but…..hey….kids today; what can you tell them?
That apart, WRANGLED will certainly feature in our Top 10 Albums of 2017……in it’s own way it’s as groundbreaking as Elizabeth Cook’s Balls album and could and should mark the next big step in Angaleena Presley’s burgeoning career.
Released April 21st 2017