Though a band already with a wealth of compelling sounds and acclaim garnering releases behind them at the time, we were introduced to British dark rockers Pearl Handled Revolver three years back through their third studio album, If The Devil Cast His Net. It was an encounter which captivated ears and imagination in varying degrees across each track with all leaving a mark which inspired the real anticipation of its successor. Now the band has uncaged Fantasy Reigns, a fascination of sound and enterprise which firmly puts its predecessor in the shade.
The Bedford hailing quartet has brewed their enthralling blend of psychedelic rock, blues rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythmic animation with increasing invention and vision across every release. It is a potent reputation only further enlivened by a rousing live presence which has seen them share stages with the likes of The Black Crowes, The Blockheads, My Baby, Hawkwind, Focus, Uriah Heep, 10CC, Don Airey & Friends, and Stray over the years. With Fantasy Reigns though it feels like they have breached yet another fresh plateau of adventure and temptation, its eight tracks flourishing with richer flavours and creative dynamics to eagerly incite body and imagination alike.
Immediately Fantasy Reigns provided us with our favourite moment, In Your Blood a riveting, delicious incitement of a track which instantly had us wrapped in its lures as the sonic wires of guitarist Andy Paris encircle an opening sample. Within an instant the spirited rhythms of drummer Chris Thatcher infest appetite and limbs, their lure immersed in the equally enticing temptation of Simon Rinaldo’s keys. It is a tantalising persuasion only lifted again by the duskier tones of vocalist Lee Vernon and the eventful delivery it comes in. Drama soaks every note and syllable, creeping shadows courting the adventure of sound and storytelling with magnetic, almost predacious prowess.
The track is glorious, an instant pinnacle continuously worried with similarly potent enterprise across the release as proven by the following Machine Gun. Again real tenacity drives rhythms and melodic intimation, those darker hues as prevalent in the heated landscape of a song fuelled by emotive volatility. As dirt encrusts its inherent rock ‘n roll, guitars and organ cast a fiery tapestry of invention and again creative drama within before Belly of the Whale unfurls its epic tenebrific tale. Immersive to the point of claustrophobic within its thick atmospheric embrace, the song still leads limbs like a puppeteer on a funereal gaited dance as another major moment infests album and listener alike.
Its increasingly rousing dynamics and tempting lead to the calm coaxing of its successor, Something Going On Up There, where swarthy sonic sighs frequent the elegant embrace of keys. The emerging crepuscular serenade had little trouble seducing attention as again psych and blues hues lock together with fascination; the beguiling bass lures of Rinaldo bewitching before Siren lives up to its name drawing ears and appetite upon the rapacious rocks of its theatre and intensive darkness.
Petrol Skin equally captivated within its persuasive almost invasive sultry twilight while The Switch had us bouncing with its caliginous psych rock web cast in intoxicating guitar threads, each coated in the melodic humidity and suggestiveness of keys. With rhythms as magnetic and vulturine as vocals, the track was one more which simply and wholly seduced ears and passions and with greater force by the listen.
Fantasy Reigns concludes with Raise Your Hand, its voracious rock ‘n’ roll as virulent as it is tantalising but set with an instinctive indeed anthemic catchiness which had the body bouncing with lustful participation. In no time a fine end to the album is cast and a need to go again from the very start driving instincts.
Pearl Handled Revolver is no wallflower in impressing and exciting ears but with Fantasy Reigns they have boiled up a whole fresh cauldron of undiluted temptation for all psych/blues appetites to greedily feast upon.
Fantasy Reigns is out now across most stores.
Pete RingMaster 11/07/2019
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