It must be frustrating, as a musician, to be 20 years beyond your commercial peak and produce work that is, artistically, your best.
That is exactly the situation Bang Tango, most often referred to as an “80s hair metal band’, finds itself in with the release of Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt. One wonders if, had they only ever reached B-grade success, the likes of Mötley Crüe would even still be treading the boards.
I saw Bang Tango, led by the charismatic Joey Leste, about 18 months ago in a modest Brooklyn bar. If being freed from the constraints and expectations of 80s stardom is liberating, that could be one reason why Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt is so good. “Our Way” suggests Bang Tango have wrestled with the philosophical question of why they are still at it and have arrived at a satisfying conclusion: because it’s fun.
“Some people say we’ll never make it … We keep on moving, we keep on flying, we do it all without even trying, I guess you could say its our way.”
This platter is best described as sleazy hard rock but the sleaze aspect is not overstated or self-conscious. “Dick In The System” is a delicious slice of rifferama and this writer’s favorite, “Boom Box Seance” is a cruisy, roof down romp (with a conceited refrain – “I know you’re gonna want to mess around with me”) and “Suck It Up” is one of those chugga-chugg glam rock dishes best served loud.
But this isn’t a perfect record. Stonesy lament “Have You Seen Her” is a good song that could have been great had an arse-kicking producer forced Bang Tango to go away and work for longer on the lyrics. As it is, the chorus is a little ham-fisted and repetitive. Elsewhere, “Live Life” soars after a weird intro from a black fruiterer, ‘Drivin'” is more of what “Boom Box Seance” is and “I Like It” is low slung and cool.
It’s a confusing old world of new releases out there, reader. Outside of what’s left on the majors, it’s hard to know what’s worth listening to and what isn’t. Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt is worth seeking out.
1. Dick in the System
2. Suck it Up
3. Our Way
4. Bring on yhe World
5. Have You Seen Her
6. Live Life
7. I Like It
8. Boom Box Seance
10. Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt