“Hustler’s Row”

By Dr. Abner Mality

When it comes to 70’s influenced retro-rock, Gentlemans Pistols are the cream of the crop. They have now made the jump to Nuclear Blast Records…due, in part I’m sure, to their new guitarist Bill Steer,who also happens to be in another Nuclear Blast band you may have heard of…Carcass. If Carcass can bring the Pistols to greater popularity in their wake, I’m all for it.

“Hustler’s Row” shows again that these guys have more heart and soul than the vast majority of bands plying 70’s tinged waters. You can hear the sincerity in the crunching riffs of “The Searcher”…straight out of the heaviest tradition of British blues rock. The vocals of Mr. James Atkinson have changed quite a bit over the years. He demonstrates a “softer” and more melodic tone on “Hustler’s Row” than we’ve heard before. Yet it still fits the music perfectly.

The album rocks with a Thin Lizzy kind of swing on cuts like “Devil’s Advocate on Call” and “Private Rendezvous”. The guitars of Mssrs. Steer and Atkinson create some wonderful twin harmonies throughout and Bill cuts loose with the same kind of classic solos that he does in his other “retro” band, Firebird. But I dare say that Gentlemans Pistols shoots straighter and truer than Firebird.

Other highlights are the sharp and speedy “Cos of You”, the riffy “Dazzle Drizzler” and the concluding title track,which is more of a bluesy melancholy ballad than the rocker its title suggests; it still oozes with true emotion and feeling.

Nuclear Blast has a lot of retro-rock bands like Kadavar, Vintage Caravan and Graveyard, but I daresay they now have the top of the line with Gentlemans Pistols.