Amigo The Devil is the stage name of Danny Kiranos. Across the ten tracks of his new album Born Against he really earns the moniker. The album is dark, possessed, and deeply…fun.
Kiranos is influenced by Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Both of those are prevalent on the album but there are also some touches of Johnny Cash, both in his baritone singing voice and also the Western and mariachi influences. Across a relatively brief 10 tracks, Kiranos explores a variety of sounds. “Quiet as a rat” feels like a funeral down Bourbon Street in New Orleans until mariachi trumpets kick in. By “24k Casket,” a meditation on how you can’t take wealth with you when the ground swallows you up, the melody is anchored by a banjo and a handclap pattern. Oh, and there’s a song called “Murder at the Bingo Hall.” That title alone shows the sort of depraved humor that permeates this album.
Folk music – aside from the omnipresent Taylor Swift – isn’t very common in the modern popular music landscape. Amigo the Devil feels like a throwback to an old-school aesthetic, but it never feels dated or like homage. It’s Kiranos’ musical playground that he’s invited audiences into.
His songwriting is fun and witty, and his vocals dovetail well with the musical elements on the album. It’s a little weird, a little off-center, but that’s what’s fun about it. In an era dominated by Spotify algorithms, this album feels designed to stick out, not autofill on a playlist with a thousand other songs that sound the same.
From the name of the artist to the song titles to the music itself, everything about Born Against is fun, quirky, dark, and – above all – unique. It’s definitely worth checking out.