Scarcely a year after their first album, The 2:19 have given us another gem. 2021’s Revelator delved deep into the blues tradition, with thirteen original songs, in what was a stunning album debut.
Now with We Will Get Through This, the band has stretched its musical wings to add some superb bluesy Americana sounds to their out-and-out blues approach. So this new album shows some pretty fast maturing from The 2:19, with ten original songs that encompass blues-rock, Americana, and a little bluesy country. The blues underpin it all and the variety works because of the distinctive sound the band is developing, the very fine song arrangements and the talented and versatile vocals of Chris Chalmers.
The album’s strengths are manifold and include the accomplished song writing, all the more remarkable since it was only during the pandemic that the band began writing its own material. But make no mistake, this is a strong set of songs, with great tunes and clever lyrics. And the arrangements show each of the songs off in their best light – and I really liked the less-is-more approach with the instrumentation throughout.
Take the harmonica, for example. I love bluesy harmonica, but too much of a good thing can spoil a perfectly good song. Chris Chalmers just drops a little bit in on Broken Harmony Blues, as does Andrei Marinescu in Best Suit, and it works perfectly. Same thing goes for the horns. The band clearly has a great ear for what works – what pleases – and the way the horns kick in towards the end of Radio Smiles makes an already great song, well, just terrific.
After the opening couple of rockers, No Smoke, No Fire and Turn Out the Lights, which make you think this album is going to be a continuation of where the band left off with Revelator, we suddenly find ourselves in the Southern rock of maybe the 1970s with Hey Carolina, with its slew of wonderfully cliched words and phrases culled from the American South, like southern comfort, the welfare side of town, and doing me wrong. This is simply a stand-out song, where just everything works, from Chalmer’s lead vocals to the fabulous backing vocals to Paul Wilkinson’s short but rockin’ guitar solo, and the final flourish from Linley Hamilton’s horns.
It’s followed by Best Suit, which recalls classic acoustic blues numbers from yesteryear, with its repeated first line and resolving third line. This has everything you want in a blues song – clever lyrics about a courtroom drama, some bluesy piano, a nice bit of resonator-slide, a little blues harp and a huge dollop of fun.
After the funky The Reach, Radio Smiles gives us another tasty slice of America, with an introduction that is pure Neil Young and ushers us in to a laid back, but expansive and classic-sounding number that transports you to an open-topped gas-guzzler on some deserted American highway.
Then things get pared way back with Broken Harmony Blues, a quite exquisite duet between Chris Chalmers and the hugely talented Amy Montgomery, who features on four of the album’s songs. Here the two take lines in turn and then sing in harmony in what is one of the stand-out songs in the set, aided and abetted by John McCullough’s fine keyboard work. Bonnie Raitt, if you’re reading this – put this song on your next album (that’s to take nothing away from the fine performance here).
And then before the title track that closes things, Seven Wonders, written by Chris Chalmers for his young daughter, puts us in Rolling Stones territory and is just great fun.
The 2:19 made a huge statement with Revelator. We Will Get Through This shouts even louder the fact that this is a hugely talented band that needs to be widely heard and enjoyed.
Stream the album on Spotify, Amazon, Apple and YouTube.
Photo Credits: Terry Hanna Photography
The 2:19 are:
Chris Chalmers, vocals/guitar
Marty Young, bass
Monty Sneddon, drums
Paul Wilkinson, guitar
Ady Young, guitar bassist
Andrei Marinescu, harmonica