Three Aussie hard rockers from Adelaide, you know what they’re going to sound like, right? well, no, not this time actually, the sound of those (mostly) Scottish émigrés is conspicuous by its absence on Tracer El Pistolero. Released in 2013 El Pistolero is a damn fine-looking beast of an LP, the worn edges and Mexican folk art approach of the cover – gotta love skulls, pistols and roses, add in the chunky cardboard cover, the sugar skulls artwork on the inner sleeve and the fact I picked up a very limited edition red vinyl and copy and … I … oop … aaaahhh! (smokes post-coital cigarette).
Formed from the ashes of a blues band by the horribly precocious trio, El Pistolero is the sound of some hungry young rockers who have come fully of age to the sounds of Audioslave, QOTSA, and Soundgarden, there is an interesting grunge filter applied to their all-out rock assault here. That and a damn cool dusty-booted cowboy vibe, tales of revenge and repentance beyond the law. I’m not making this up you know, try this!
I’d like to look like them too. I really enjoy ‘El Pistolero’, which is one of three tracks tagged as being part of ‘Suite Del Desperado’ and as well as a great bass heavy sound has opening lines I love, ‘In a seedy bar is Saragossa / I saw the devil only closer’, death, revenge and a blazing shoot-out follow, rather inevitably, but thrillingly for Mr Pistolero himself.
Tracer have a really good sound, but my criticism would be that they stick too closely to it at times and the listener is left scanning the tracks for differences, the blistering guitar solo in ‘Lady Killer’, the exhilarating full-on mania of, umm, ‘Manic For Ya’, the totally excellent Doors-play-spaghetti-Western of ‘Until The War Is Won’ and the filthy ZZ Top-esque riff of ‘Wolf In Cheap Clothes’. Kevin Shirley’s production throughout is, as you’d expect, rather excellent too, deep without being too muddy.
Overall, El Pistolero is a really good, confident, modern hard rock LP by a band whose next album is out damn soon and I might have a chance of seeing play next month, it’s not up there in classic territory yet though, there’s a filler or two present, but the good stuff bodes very well indeed for their future.