It’s easy enough to describe Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires in strictly musical terms. Hailing from Birmingham, Ala., former Dexateens guitarist Bains and his rip-roaring band of Dixie brothers scream through their sophomore album, Dereconstructed, with the ferocity of a Punk-fueled Drive-By Truckers, informed by early Rolling Stones, snotty ’60s Garage dervishes like The Standells and The Shadows of Knight and ’70s swaggermeisters like The Dictators, with a healthy dash of Southern Gospel passion.
If Bains’ songs were just cock-waving paeans, all raw emotion and raucous energy and fist-pumping theatrics, that would probably be enough to sell the Glory Fires’ concept.
But Bains has bigger catfish to batter fry on Dereconstructed (and on the Glory Fires’ 2012 debut, There is a Bomb in Gilead, for that matter), as he uses his lyrical pulpit to recount the dichotomy of living in a South where freedom was — and in many ways, remains — conditional and far from universally applied even when it was legally mandated.
It may be no small irony that the soundtrack accompanying Bains’ observations hits with the force of the truncheons and fire hoses that were used by the police to quell non-violent protests in the supposedly enlightened ’60s.
On the other hand, it may just be that a spoonful of visceral Garage Rock sugar helps the medicine of re-examining the sins and scars of Southern suppression go down.
If there was ever a case to be made for songs that make you think while you dance, or dance while you think, surely it is Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires’ social diatribes disguised as heart-pounding, needle-in-the-red, stomp-and-shout Rock & Roll anthems.
LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES plays MOTR Pub on Monday, July 14. More info here .