Album Review: “Hush or Howl” – Black Pistol Fire


Black Pistol Fire

 If you’re craving some classic bluesy Southern rock’n’roll, Black Pistol Fire’s  new “Hush or Howl” will give you a fix. The Canadian duo comprised of Kevin McKeown and Eric Owen relocated to Austin, TX a few years back and that’s when the magic began. With full-length LP’s released in 2011 and 2012, their third studio album is their best effort yet, with the band finding a certain level of maturity and honing their sound.

 Like a few noteable bands in their genre (The Black Keys, The White Stripes, etc.), Black Pistol Fire has a stripped down sound with McKeown on guitar/lead vocals and Owen on drums. No bass. No backing guitars. No fancy shmancy effects. Just two guys and their hard-hitting rock and roll. But unlike these other duos that crank out energetic Southern rock, BPF has a grittier garage rock edge that borders punk at times. McKeown’s gravelly vocals are thick as fog, his guitar laced with sweet, sweet reverb, and Owen’s drumming is punchy and powerful. High-voltage songs like “Alabama Coldcock” and “Hipster Shakes” establish the overall bluesy rock atmosphere of the album. However, BPF also displays their versatility with the adept fingerpicking of the banjo on “Your Turn to Cry”, the warming harmonica playing on “Grease My Wheel”, and the classic rock guitar sound on “Hush”.

BlackPistolFire2

Most of the criticism for this band surrounds the argument that their sound is unoriginal and they’re riding the coattails of The Black Keys’ commercial success. As someone who keeps a close eye on new trends in the music scene, this is inevitable. An artist hears something they like in another artist and incorporates some of that sound into their own music. That is the nature of trends. On the other hand, this also sets the bar higher for the new artists, so its much more impressive when they kill it, much like Black Pistol Fire has on “Hush or Howl”.

Black Pistol Fire has proved they have what it takes for success on “Hush or Howl”. While staying true to the Southern blues rock sound, they have taken it to the next level and added their own garage-y flare. Make sure to check out their upcoming tour dates and pick up a copy of “Hush or Howl” over here.

You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Tuesdays from 6-7pm on KSSU.com. I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and the occasional giveaway. Tune in!

DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas

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