Vinyl ‘n Beer – Jackleg Devotional to the Heart by the Baptist Generals

Taking a step back into the early days of my vinyl collection, I happened upon this gem. Well, gem in my opinion. Back when I was just getting my collection started, I went into a brief craze of buying albums purely based on album art.

I know what you’re thinking. Luckily (or not), this only went on for six months or so. During that time though, I stumbled upon the subject of today’s post – a band based not far from where I live.

“Jackleg Devotional to the Heart” is certainly a mouthful for an album title, but it’s one that you’re unlikely to forget. I know I haven’t. Okay, let’s move onto the goodies.

The System

I’d like to take a quick moment to talk about the system for today’s album. On the source side is my trusty Rega RP10 feeding a Rega Aria. Mounted to the turntable is the OG Apheta cartridge. Some day I’ll get around to upgrading it to the latest version or even the Aphelion.

For the amplifier, I’m using my reference Rega Osiris. It has continued to serve me well and I expect it to continue to do so until I find a worthy successor. Down the line are the Q Acoustic 3050i floorstanding loudspeakers. Definitely not my reference pick, but for the price I quite like them and their low relative cost gives me peace of mind in the case my kids decide to start a wrestling match.

How’s it Sound?

I think most would describe The Baptist Generals as a little “out there”. Definitely I would agree that their sound is very alternative indie, edging on that “lo-fi” sound that was big around the album was released.

The first vocal track is “Dog That Bit You”, and it immediately delivers the sound you can expect for the rest of the album. I for one tremendously enjoy this track. Even after hearing this track a dozen times, I’m not sure if it’s the general melody, the lyrics, or a combination thereof, but it always grasps 100% of my attention.

Compared to previous albums I’ve written about, there is an obvious lack in low-end oomph. But it works here. The stylizing of the music still lends itself to demand your attention lest you miss the intricate guitar work.

As I sat there listening, a common theme across all of the tracks was the vocals. Whereas a majority of artists may rely on their instruments to provide the beat and melody, the vocals here could probably stand on their own in a few tracks. I think that’s incredibly rare and is part of the reason I view this album has a hidden gem.

For all of the greatness that I found though, it wasn’t all roses. A few tracks like “x” and “y” seemed misplaced and felt more belonging in a poetry recital. Okay, that’s a little harsh. I say that because I felt the album better without them. Flipping the album over, the opening track on the back half of the album sees the pace pick up a bit, but continuing the vocal led melody that I have thus far enjoyed.

A hidden talent within this album that isn’t immediately apparent is the great use of space.

The Album in Review

This album is a complete surprise every time I listen to it. The well thought out acoustics and catchy-yet-musical vocals go a long way in allowing for an enjoyable music experience.

I often think about how they got their start close to (my) home and if that played any part in my feelings towards them. But then I close my eyes and just listen. I think the Baptist Generals can find a home in any music collectors repertoire.

What About the Beer?

Today I’m enjoying the Prairie Seasick Crocodile. Before even trying it, I have to say I love the name. As always, Prairie has some great “canwork” (can artwork) to accompany the creative name.

The cinnamon clearly comes through as the beer started to warm up. And as far as sours are concerned, this is the least sour sour I’ve ever encountered. Even my wife, who normally shy’s away from this style enjoyed it. The ginger notes were more noticeable in the aroma than taste for me, but that’s okay. The nutmeg comes through and plays well with the other flavors.

Overall, I would say this tastes like a Christmas sour in a can. While it won’t rank up there with the most flavor packed sours, it can stand its ground for being so agreeable to the average person. That in of itself is a rare quality, just like the Baptist Generals album.

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