Album Review: Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs – Gates of Hell

Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs - Gates of Hell

Dave Emrich

You may remember Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs as the beer-soaked foursome that promised high-energy country twang to a crowd of sweaty 20-somethings dancing and chanting along to songs like “All To Myself” or “Violent Girls.” Since then Coffey has relocated to Toronto and the original Iron Lungs have progressively been replaced by a five piece backing band that round out Coffey’s new found sound.

Returning with their third album Gates of Hell, the Lungs have shifted to a more fuzzed out garage-rock and roll oriented sound – but make no mistake, this is not to a fault in any way, shape or form. You look in any corner of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and find a band or artist that influenced this sound. The record covers all the bases of rock and roll without feeling in any way forced, and yet still manages to keep a consistent sound throughout.

The album opens with the titular track and a build up reminiscent of American punk rockers Titus Andronicus, yet wastes no time getting to the point. The high energy is prevalent early on with this record and it doesn’t relent until the 10-track album is finished.

Clocking in at just under half-an hour the album will leave you dancing and wanting more, and considering the ridiculous amount of hooks that this album offers, these ear-worms will probably have you singing along before you know it as well.

With straightforward, high-energy tracks like “Birthday” and “Get Pumped Up” this album should be the soundtrack to any party you walk into for the foreseeable future.

Energy aside, on first listen this album is deceptively simple. However, ambitious tracks like “Heavy on Queen St.,” Gates of Hell will keep surprising you on your second, third, or fortieth listen.

Not only does this album offer a brilliant song-writing balance of poppy-hooks and impressive underlying leads, but the production on this album is one not to be messed with.

The perfect amount of a fuzzy, blown-out but still comprehensible lo-fi, mixed with tracks like “Brides of Satan” that boast drool worthy guitar, takes the brilliance of Gates of Hell to the next level.

Gates of Hell is an insanely well-researched love letter to the history of rock and roll and delivers the perfect amount of experimentation and feel-good anthems. Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs have put out an album that deserves regular rotation in your collection for years to come. This album is not only one of the best albums to come out of the area all year, but it is arguably one of the best albums to come out all year, period.