Straight off the bat I have to say I am a Volbeat virgin. This is a band that haven't crossed my musical path before this album. I doubt they would have done so with this album if it hadn't been for the new excellent TeamRock Radio who have played the hell out of the album track Lola Montez.
Lola Montez is an immediately hooky catchy track. The lyrics are deceptive when read along with the track. The song about an erotic dancer in a western cowboy bar dancing a "Spider Dance" having gold thrown at her by prospectors. The song is a summer song that would definitely be classed as an earworm.
The album is a great mix of Hard Rock and slightly edgier faster stuff that I would put down to the production of ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano who initially went in to produce the album and lay down a few solos and ended up joining the band full time. The production is really slick and well laid down and it flows. The styles on the album do vary from Rock to Rockabilly, which you may think could be jarring when read in this review, but give it a try, it's not as bad as you would think.
Some of the stand out tracks for me are (obviously) Lola Montez, that song is my "gateway" song into Volbeat and will probably be the benchmark I set the rest of my VB listening against. Doc Holiday is one of the albums heavier tracks that is guitar lead and is probably heavily influenced by Caggiano. Pearl Hart is another one of those tracks that swing along and you can add it to your summer listening lists.
As with all albums with a theme there has to be light and shade, and slap bang in the middle of this album there is one deep dark slab of shade in the "The Hangmans Body Count". You just know that it's the peak of the story. The hero has his choice to make and decide which way to turn. This is that point.
All in all, Volbeat's Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies is a great album that should get the band more noticed. It has worked on me. It's not the normal sort of thing that I would ordinarily go out for. It took the Lola Montez track for me to get interested and in this day and age of the single not being a massive thing anymore, it's great to hear a band actually go out and write a catchy single and get Radio to play it to entice listeners to go deeper into their world.