This month British rockers Pearl Handled Revolver release their third album, a collection of dark rock ‘n’ roll encounters which almost deviously seduce ears as they work their way into the psyche. The band spins tales of mystery and intrigue graced shadows, creative episodes shaped and coloured by the magnetic hues of blues and psych rock, though that is simplifying the enthralling tapestries of sound and imagination making up If The Devil Cast His Net.
Since forming, Pearl Handled Revolver has released four EPs and two full length albums, all between 2010 and 2013, and shared stages on tour at shows with the likes of The Black Crowes, Stray, The Blockheads, FM, The Quireboys, Black Star Riders, Toots and the Maytalls, Donovan, and Focus along the way. It is fair to say that the quartet has not been lost for acclaim and attention but equally with If The Devil Cast His Net, they have breached a new plateau on creativity and sound which you can only see being rewarded by a similar increase in attention and reward.
With the gravelly tones of Lee Vernon fronting the house of blues mystery, a Tom Waits like comparison is easy to offer but equally the band’s sound has tantalising hues reminding of The Doors, Nick Cave, and Japanese Fighting Fish to its magnetic body and invention. It is a rich temptation working away at seducing ears from the start of If The Devil Cast His Net, opener Help Me Down From The Trees gripping the imagination within seconds as the pulsating lure of Simon Rinaldo’s peddle bass is immersed in the mystique soaked suggestiveness of his keys. It is a quite mesmeric coaxing driven by the great nagging beats of Chris Thatcher and only increasing in temptation as the scythes of guitarist Andy Paris seem to spark a new weave of organ cast enterprise. Dark and brooding yet simultaneously warm and celebratory, the song beguiles as it intrigues, Vernon’s dusty tones opening up the narrative for greater captivating drama. It is mesmeric stuff, the bass a perpetually enjoyable nagging and the spicy lilt of the keys a dark temptation within a fiery dance of sound and creative theatre.
The sensational start is followed by the more straight forward rock ‘n’ roll of Don’t Throw It Away. A cleaner tone to the vocals is matched by a lighter spring in the step and voice of the psychedelia lined sounds around them. A sixties/seventies mixed scent potently adds to the inviting lure of the song and though it cannot live up to its brilliant predecessor, it has ears and body rocking before they are faced with the tantalising seduction of Someone Like You. It’s surf rock spiced melodies and ambience is a swift bewitchment, as too the rolling rhythmic bait of Thatcher; all caressing and coaxing the senses as Vernon’s sandy tones paint an evocative picture in word and tone. It is a hex of a song, a spellbinding incitement of appetite and imagination to bind listener and release closer together.
The rhythmic design of the track is emulated in the album’s title track, though around it the guitar and keys weave their own distinct episode of encroaching shadows and sultry flavours around the devil’s lyrical play. A compelling persuasion, it is matched in success by the melancholic hug of Walk These Streets. Reflective and emotive, the song is a smouldering serenade painted by the cleaner side of Vernon’s voice, provocative strings, and the sombre yet graceful caress of keys. As expected, shadows court this cast of emotive protagonists, bass and drums guiding their intervention as much as the sorrowful scent of voice and word.
Current single, Absinthe In Adelaide stirs air and spirit up again with its almost rapacious growl of voice and steely grooves whilst Loverman is a primal shuffle of blues courted rock ‘n’ roll; both tracks basking in the unique psych and classic rock imagination of keys and guitar. The second of the pair is especially irresistible; a heady, almost muggy trip into the dark psychedelic backwaters of mysterious deeds and lives. We have not really touched on the cinematic side of the album, each song tempting the imagination to conjure their own at times almost pagan-esque adventures to accompany the rich tales of the band with this proposition a prime example.
The album closes with Into The Blue, a groove entangled romp luring the listener into a salty tango of organ spun melodies and wonderfully niggly hooks, all driven by the ever compelling rhythmic persuasion of Thatcher and Rinaldo. It is an impossible to resist flirtation bringing the album to a riveting anthemic conclusion.
Some tracks shine over others within If The Devil Cast His Net, but from start to finish it feeds the spirit and ignites a hungry appetite for more; almost as if the Devil had a hand it.
If The Devil Cast His Net is released April 29th through all platforms.
Pete RingMaster 27/04/2016
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