Pariah Beat, Babylon Is Fallen EP | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Pariah Beat, Babylon Is Fallen EP 

Album Review

Pariah Beat, Babylon Is Fallen Ep
  • Pariah Beat, Babylon Is Fallen Ep

(Self-released, CD, digital download)

Boston-by way-of-Thetford’s Pariah Beat is one busy band. Since its inception in 2006, the group has self-released two EPs and two full-length albums, totaling more than 30 original compositions in just over a year and a half. That’s prolificacy of Ryan Adams-like proportions. Tabbed by Beantown’s humor and entertainment rag The Weekly Dig as one of “Six Worthies You Might Run Into on the T,” the quintet is a genre-mashing juggernaut, which their fall 2007 EP, Babylon Is Fallen, ably proves.

The EP’s titular opening track is a bouncy Americana-Gypsy number. Think Charlie Daniels fronting Gogol Bordello and you might get the idea. Here the traveling caravan is in fine form, offering a cautionary tale to imperialist-minded Americans.

The fiddle-infused cow-punk of “Come on In,” the disc’s second track, maintains a driving country shuffle. “Listen, son, you better understand / my faith and the Devil walk hand in hand,” sings the entire band during the song’s rousing chorus.

“Front Porch” follows with still more spirited Americana. Continuing on a running political theme, guitarist/fiddler/vocalist Billy Sharff howls, “They’re tellin’ me the water is poison / after I drank it all my life. / My dad always said as a man I would see / it’s just another conspiracy.”

“Tipperary,” a likely nod to the band’s Boston-Irish roots, is a modern re-imagining of the Celtic standard, complete with updated lyrics. Like all the tunes on the EP, it’s a high-energy romp. Sharff’s frantic fiddle and Nick Charyk’s glittering guitar battle for prominence. The musicianship, as always, is loose — perhaps intentionally? — but never sloppy.

Album closer “Love the Pain” is something of an oddity. Given the style and thematic threads of the preceding numbers, its hot-house feel is a bit out of place. Still, it’s a solid track featuring lively but un-credited horn work and devilish wordplay from Sharff.

All in all, Babylon Is Fallen is a worthy sampling from a young band with much to offer. The disc is not without its flaws, but hints at a wealth of burgeoning talent. Brimming with energy, it also suggests these guys — and gal — put on one hell of a live show. Find out Wednesday, March 19, as Pariah Beat hosts “Beyond Iraq,” a community discussion about the war and its (eventual, we hope) aftermath at Montpelier’s Langdon Street Café. Sounds like a bit of a downer, frankly — good thing the band is sticking around to play some tunes afterwards.

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more


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