Black Pistol Fire
Don't Wake the Riot (Modern Outsider)
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., June 24, 2016
The blues is ancient, but some acts reinvigorate it for a new millennium. While these locals come by way of Canada, singer/guitarist Kevin McKeown and drummer Eric Owen brandish the genre with a wild-eyed ferocity and Southern toughness on fourth studio album Don't Wake the Riot. The album continues to find comfort in the duo's Texas roadhouse hoedowns and bayou R&B drawls, a raw-boned and unhinged quality that separates them from their all-American beer commercial counterparts, the Black Keys. Album opener "Storm Cussin'" finds McKeown's hollowbody warbling Seventies riffs and dust-devil fuzz, Owen getting heavy with strained half-time beats. The intensity never falters: clapping county-line rocker "Hard Luck," Southern ballad "Bad Blood," barroom brawler "Fleet Foot," and bludgeoning barn burner "Copperhead Kiss." Much like 2014's Hush or Howl and 2015's self-titled effort, Don't Wake the Riot repudiates any need for change with a stubborn resolution to stick to Texas blues. Why trade in a vintage truck if it rides so clean?