Although it is isn’t technically a new release, the latest Baptist Generals album Jackleg Devotional to the Heart on Sub Pop Records is worth a tardy review not just because it is the band’s first release since No Silver/No Gold (2003) but because it is an exceedingly worthwhile collection of songs. In the ten years between releases this Denton-based indie rock and psychedelic folk outfit clearly were not idle in their songwriting and creativity, a fact which is evident in the twelve songs on Jackleg Devotional to the Heart.
Jackleg opens with “Machine En Prolepsis,” a striding instrumental composition marked by heavy strumming and punctuating drumming. The next song, “Dog That Bit You,” sets the tone for the remainder of the album, featuring the strength of singer/songwriter Chris Flemmons and Co.’s collective musical facility. “Clitorpus Christi,” one of my personal favorites on the album, is musically sparse but rich in lyrical content—poor living conditions and shacking up with memorable yet wicked women. “Turnunders and Overpasses” has a sort of modern-day Kerouacian wanderlust element to it, with a prominent bassline and metronomic percussion. The folky “Oblivion” is follows. From there, the Generals give us such other impressive tracks as “Broken Glass,” the beautiful “Floating,” and the meaningful “Morning of My Life.” And when it's a played, sung and done, the listener cannot help but realize that The Baptist Generals' sound is undeniably one of a kind.
On The Baptist Generals’ Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, one gets the best of both the electric and acoustic world; in other words, the best of both rock and indie folk. And with such an inspired album we can only hope that it doesn’t take another ten years for them to release another one.