England's Gentleman's Pistols had already committed to four years of backbreaking work and sacrifice prior to the release of this eponymous first album through Rise Above, and the proof, as they say, is right there in the band's blood-sweat-and-tears pudding. Lousy metaphors aside, the Leeds-based quartet's dedication is made evident precisely by the ear-catching power displayed by almost all of the ten standard-issue classic rock tracks housed within, since, in truth, anything short of ear-catching simply would not do when a band is dealing in such worn and weathered musical building blocks. Indeed, particularly self-assured rockers like "Just a Fraction" and "Widow Maker" radiate remarkable guff, economy, and directness (all qualities that may have carried over from leading Gentleman James Atkinson's previous experience in hardcore bands), and you'll probably want to add the word "urgent" to this initial list of core attributes once faced with particularly frantic juggernauts like "Out of the Eye" and "Vivid Wonder." But arguably, nothing backs up the Pistol's hard rock bona fides as firmly as their more measured songwriting displays, including the anguished blues-rock saunter of "Heavy Petting" and emotionally fraught "The Lady," where they effortlessly accelerate from zero to sixty and back again at will. Try pulling off those moves on an exclusive diet of Oi!-Oi!-Oi! Heck, the mere notion sparks a snicker. Instead, it's precisely this range of creativity, sizzling excitement, and earnest rock & roll character that earmarked Gentleman's Pistols as true contenders and potential heirs to, say, Burning Tree on this debut -- though there'll hopefully be greater commercial success awaiting the Pistols' before they're done. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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