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Gentlemen's Pistols

Gentlemen's Pistols

Review by Mike Korn
Right now, retro is in as far as hard rock goes. Hordes of stoner rock bands are trying to recreate the magic that grizzled titans like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Free cast upon the land many moons ago. Few of these attempts really touch the emotion and sincerity that made these elder gods so classic. Witchcraft from Sweden is certainly one. Priestess also come to mind. But with England's Gentlemen's Pistols, we have the first modern day band that not only just equals their inspirations, they may also surpass them.

This is an absolutely phenomenal disc if you like hard rock from 1968 to 1975. The crisp analog sound of the guitars and drums, the dynamics of the songwriting, the soulful clear vocals of one James Atkinson, and above all, the heartfelt energy that the Pistols bring to this music has to be heard to be believed. No mere words of mine, no matter how hyped up and verbose, can do justice to the way these guys recreate an era that's been gone for more than 30 years. This is no mere lame attempt to come up with a new "trend,” ala The Darkness, but something that is pure and sincere. The band write some classic hard rock songs and most of what passes for hard rock today is a shameful reminder of how far rock has fallen from the glory days.

Homer Simpson once said that no good rock and roll was done after 1974. Well, if he had heard Gentleman's Pistols in between donut and beer binges, he would have changed his opinion for sure. This is timeless stuff, totally recommended!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Just A Fraction
Having a thermonuclear warhead shot up your backside would be less of a wake-up call than having the energy of this cut blast through your head. It's not thrash, it's not death metal, but wow, this proves that good old fashioned hard rock can pack the same kind of punch. The riffs and wailing guitar solos have got "1972" written all over's uncanny. On top of that are the smooth but jacked up vocals of James Atkinson. The guy reminds me of the Guess Who's Burton Cummings, who was one of the most natural rock vocalists ever. It’s a tremendous way to kick off the CD!
Out of the Eye
The pace and fire doesn't cool off at all here. This is more slamming bluesy rock played with the urgency of punk. Like all of the songs here, this is really compact and packs a ton of feeling into a relatively brief length. The guitar solos are absolutely killer!
Heavy Pettin'
Drenched with bluesy heat and sexy innuendo, this slows things down considerably. I have never heard such a tremendous recreation of the slow burning bluesy grind that Led Zeppelin did on "Dazed and Confused" and "The Lemon Song.” The bass throbs in a very naughty way here, emphasizing the gloriously clichéd lyrics. Anybody who misses the steamy blues rock of old will be weeping with joy upon hearing this.
Widow Maker
I almost thought this was going to be a rip-off of Golden Earring's "Radar Love" for a second, but it soon develops its own frantic feeling, with choppy, fast riffing. Again it has a kind of Zeppelin touch, but more oriented towards their quicker stuff like "Heartbreaker" or "Immigrant Song.” This is another hard-rocking chestnut sure to put hair on your chest...if you're a guy, that is.
The Lady
And the hits keep on coming! This is another slow one, with a real ominous touch to it. I'm again struck by the wonderful tone of Atkinson's vocals. They just summon up every memory of early 70's hard rock. The vocal hooks here are so memorable. I was vaguely reminded of "Green Eyed Lady" by this funky cut, which speeds up nicely in the mid-section before settling back down to that slower theme.
Lyin', Foolin'
This is a very upbeat, catchy track with a killer hook on the chorus. It reminds me almost of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and the Guess Who again. This would have burned up the charts in the 70's!
Mistress Mistrust
Yep, here's another outstanding rocker with more hooks than a box of fishing tackle. It slams along in a Zeppelin-type fashion and then hits a cool and unexpected, almost Maidenish little twist in the middle. Think along the lines of "Black Dog" if you need a comparison.
Creamy Lid
The pace continues to be frantic here and there's acid guitar solos and fills screaming all over the place. The title would seem to indicate a psychedelic influence and what the lyrics are about, I haven't a clue. The bass guitar plays a big part in pushing this one around.
Vivid Wonder
If there was a such a thing as early 70's thrash metal, this would be it. It’s a scorching little number that emerges as the fastest song on the disc. If you swirled English blues with speed metal, this is what you'd get!
Parking Banshee
I have no clue in hell what the title to this means, but I suspect some sort of chemicals may have been involved in coming up with it. If there's one song on the album I would pick as maybe a little on the average side, this would be it. That semi-funky Led Zeppelin feeling is back again, but not quite as potent as before. Now don't interpret that as meaning this song is bad. It's quite a catchy little ditty and again amazing in how it suggests the early 70's. It's just I'm not quite into this one as much and following the blazing "Vivid Wonder,” it's a slight let down.
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