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276. Driving Nails – Vigilantes of Love


Vigilantes of Love

The forgotten VoL album.

So many fans and critics, when discussing Bill Mallonee and Vigilantes of Love, will skip this amazing album from the early years and center discussion around the impressive Jugular and the spell binding Killing Floor. What is missed is one of Mallonee’s most transparant, beautiful and intriguing albums.

Like the debut this album is sparse in instrumentation with limited drums, acoustic guitar and assorted acoustic instrumental support. It’s about the lyrics and the performance. And here Mallonee and crew deliver 14 brilliant musical experiences. The album also contains one of Mallonee’s most poignant songs of faith, the incredible title track. Here he proclaims “I’ve been driving the nails, firmly in your tree/You’ev been talking to Your Father on behalf of me…why do I lift the hammer up/And drive the nails in?”

The album starts with a unique take on abortion that it a more serious version of Steve Taylor’s “I Blew Up the Clinic real Good.” Mallonee plays the part of one so horrified by the practice that he imagines taking a molotov cocktail to a local clinic. What could drive a normally peaceful and intelligent man to this edge is an intriguing and troubling question. Mallonee makes a memorable response to the common “it’s my body” argument with “You say it’s your body/That’s nakedly plain?But less then nine moths ago it was public domain.” Ouch!

Causality, Just Going Blind, Sanctuary and Shadowlands are highlights amongst stand outs. “One Foot in the Grave” is a brilliant song that is never tiring and remains a personal favorite two decades later. It feels little Petty-ish and probably would have been an AOR hit if Petty recorded it.

This is not the only VoL album to be listed here, but it my personal favorite, though not the best. It shouldn’t even need the AYSO designation since it should be painfully obvious.

  1. Alex
    November 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve been listening to this one a lot more the past month. I often skip over it in favour of VoL albums Blister Soul-onwards. But now that I’ve listened to it lately, it really is a great album. I agree, that line in “Odious” listed in the review is brilliant!

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