Black Pistol Fire
Big Beat '59 (Rifle Bird Records)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., Sept. 21, 2012
Black Pistol FireBig Beat '59 (Rifle Bird Records)
Bold clap 'n' moan opener "Beelzebub" marks a departure for Black Pistol Fire's bread-and-butter blues rock. Bowing last year on a razor-sharp eponymous debut, the Austin duo evolves on second LP Big Beat '59, where rootsy midtempo tunes define the disc. "Hot Mess" touches greatness, Kevin McKeown's soul-strained vocals chasing busy folk guitar lines into a series of strong melodies with perfect emotion. Otherwise characterized by the group's heavy amalgamation of soul, blues, and Southern rock, the album earns its title with Eric Owen's driving drums and McKeown's organic phrasing. At times, Big Beat '59 relies too much on sonically inflated riffing over halftime beats and it recalls the two more famous modern blues duos. Yet BPF keeps it keen enough to exercise their own specialties, like ramping up the energy with a redefining tempo change and jamming into combustion as they do on "Crows Feet."