Thirteen tracks of no frills heavy rock

There seems to be dearth of real honest rock n roll records around these days, so leave it to a bunch of dudes from Adelaide – the original home of The Angels and Cold Chisel – to blast one out and be ridiculously good about it. 

El Pistolero is thirteen tracks of no frills heavy rock with healthy nods to sludge and grunge to keep things interesting. There’s a slight Eastern lilt about ‘Hangman’ late in the piece and a vague Latin echo running through several of the songs, most notable the loosely-connected ‘Suite del Desperado’ tunes, giving the album a welcoming diversity but without taking it away very far at all from the rock.

Master producer Kevin Shirley lets the band have its head, with the first and title track coming out swinging with a dirty rock sound that carries on into the heavy thud of “Lady Killer”. Mike Brown has a quality in his voice that makes him sound like a cross between John Garcia and Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning back in the days when they were making upbeat grungy rock like on “Tail” and “Mr Kneebone” and Tracer draw from an admirable list of influences like the Doors (‘Until the War is Won’), Soundgarden (‘Dead Garden’) and virtually any classic Oz rock powerhouse you could name. ‘Wolf in Cheap Clothes’ and the album’s heaviest cut ‘Manic for Ya’ are simply uptempo rockfests that bracket more expansive pieces like ‘Scream in Silence’ and ‘Now I Ride’ closes the album in a satisfyingly retro way.

Hopefully they’ll survive the kiss of death that is winning Classic Rock‘s Best New Band Award last year because the world needs rock bands as good as this in it. If you were disappointed by Vista Chino and the latest Alice in Chains album and see Airbourne as little more than a cartoon, Tracer’s El Pistolero should put everything to rights. If you loved all of those, there’s no doubt you’ll love this as well.

1. El Pistolero
2. Lady Killer
3. Dirty Little Secret
4. Dead Garden
5. Ballad of El Pistolero
6. Santa Cecilia
7. Wolf in Cheap Clothes
8. Scream in Silence
9. Hangman
10. Manic for Ya
11. There’s a Man
12. Until the War is Won
13. Now I Ride