The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, April 25, 2014, Music

Black Pistol Fire

Hush or Howl (Modern Outsider)

Black Pistol Fire brandishes a fighter's spirit on Hush or Howl, comparing romance to a barroom brawl on clapping soul-rock opener "Alabama Cold Cock," which lands a jab with singer Kevin McKeown's swaggering tag: "I'd like to hear the sound of your big mouth shut!" The heartbreaker blues of first single "Dimestore Heartthrob" and strong chin of the banjo-driven "Your Turn to Cry" follow suit. Love is all about taking a beating and toughening up. The guitar/drums duo of Canadian provenance and Texas residence presents a dichotomy on its third full-length, getting primal on the tempo-rushing tribal blues of "Run Rabbit Run" and finding repose on old timey acoustic track "Grease My Wheel." While the rock-duo market remains saturated with bands of suspect skill levels surviving on charm and reverb, BPF demonstrates true talent. Drummer Eric Owen ain't no Meg White. He's Black Sabbath's Bill Ward, a fill-addicted power heathen getting heavy with half-time beats. The F-holes on McKeown's hollowbody emit whirlwinds of rubbery slide and hammer riffage, meantime, but it's his knack for delivering handsomely strained vocals in a finger-wagging cadence that proves the band's best asset. Every song sounds like a single.


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