What is it about stripped-down blues-rock and its disposition for numbering two people per band? The Black Keys, The White Stripes and now San Francisco's Two Gallants. Named for a James Joyce short story, their lyrics and precocious storytelling ability stay faithful to their literary ethics. Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel are barely out of their teens, but in Stephens particularly, music has found a prodigious lyricist and vocalist. Lines such as 'I'll keep you in my collection of regrets' (Las Cruces Jail) make you wonder just how old this young man's soul is; a musing that's emphasised on the excellent 'Long Summer Day', where he takes on the role of a black inhabitant of the Deep South ('When I was about the age of five/I watched my daddy burned alive/they cut him low and hung him high').Lyrical genius aside, Stephens' grainy, throaty delivery is one you'll either detest from the first bar or become immediately endeared to, but on most songs here it lends a dusty charm to the ragged old-time tales. Use of both harmonica and cello are duly noted and appreciated (Threnody in Major B, Some Slender Rest), but lack of other instruments are readily overlooked. The duo switch between languid country twanging and breakneck rhythms fluidly and convincingly thanks to Vogel's precision drumming, and though some tracks err on the side of protraction (Waves of Grain at almost 10 minutes long), they somehow avoid the trap of monotony. The urban charm and seductive riffs of Age of Assassins and Steady Rollin' are particularly bewitching, the latter being a song Johnny Cash would have felt at home singing. Whatever else the toll tells, it's a certainty that Two Gallants are destined for great things.