April 15, 2021 | 6:13pm ET
The Lowdown: Amigo the Devil is back with his second full-length album, Born Against, the follow-up to his acclaimed 2018 debut, Everything Is Fine. The Austin-based artist also known as Danny Kiranos has been winning over fans with his unique dark Americana vibe that pairs clever storytelling with an infectious musical soundtrack. While Amigo continues to tackle the macabre subjects that were featured on his first LP, Born Against offers a more introspective look at the dark side of the world.
The Good: There’s not one single genre that can apply to Amigo the Devil, and that’s a good thing. While his music is deeply rooted in folk, he has attracted a fanbase that includes followers of alt-country, Americana, and even heavy metal. It all makes for an eclectic yet cohesive collection of songs on Born Against. While his first album established him as a stellar songwriter, he reaches new heights as a vocalist on the new LP. Nowhere is that more evident than on the leadoff track, “Small Stone”, where Amigo channels the likes of Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison during a massive vocal moment in the middle of the song.
Elsewhere on the album, Amigo lets his storytelling take center stage. The bouncy “Quiet as a Rat” profiles the victims of unfortunate circumstances, with Amigo vividly painting a picture through his lyrics: “There was a girl at the bar/ She overdosed in a photo booth/ Nobody found her body until last call/ The pictures all showed her terrified and a loner while everyone cried what a great friend she was.”
Amigo’s macabre lyrics come with a sense of humor on “Murder at the Bingo Hall”, where he sets the stage for what appears to be a horrific incident, only to reveal that the protagonist is simply killing it at bingo: “From the second I walked in I planned my attack/ Three packets in hand, I sat at my usual table in back/ He mightʼve been calling the numbers, but I was calling the shots.”
The Bad: There’s nothing truly “bad” about Born Against, a very strong second album from an artist whose stock is clearly on the rise. If anything, it would be great for Amigo to open up even more as a vocalist, as he displays on “Small Stone”, and channel his impressive tenor voice on future releases.
The Verdict: Born Against is a triumphant collection of tracks from one of modern music’s most gifted storytellers. We can already picture Amigo the Devil’s devoted fans singing every word to several of these songs once he is able to hit the road again. For now, press play on Born Against, then sit back and enjoy a quiet yet slightly ominous evening at home.
Pick up Born Against here, and see our recent video Zoom interview with Amigo the Devil below.