Review by Paul H Birch
Described alternatively as “flamenco rock” and “sleaze retro Latin rock’n’roll” I was intrigued but unsure if I was going to get Los Lobos or Mink Deville hanging out with The New York Dolls. It’s actually more like a schizoid Mott the Hoople because there’s a genuine 70s glam inspired pop song-writing craft at work here.
The gonzoid lyrics of The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful will have you slow dancing solo round your handbag then strutting out as some galloping cowboy riffs kick in to accompany Buddy Holly hiccup-styled backing vocals given a Jerry Lee Lewis attitude.
Big fat Duane Eddie style guitar riffs, surf guitar runs and an overall Clash-lite musical barrage is pretty much order of the day for what turns out to be a bunch of rocked-up Latin-flavoured working class hero love songs.
Both Jezebel and the gloriously riotous Johnny Dangerous remind me of 60s hitsters Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in a mash-up with The Cramps, while Close as You’ll Ever Be and Last Train to Nowhere are pure glitzy Sunset Strip headbangers.
Vocalist/guitarist Lee Pistolero fronted The Gypsy Pistoleros for “three critically acclaimed albums and an EP” according to the PR blurb I’ve read, former White Trash UK band mate Mark Westwood rejoins him here on lead and bass while Phantom Rocker drums. It could all be so camp, but there’s no doubt Lee’s having fun cross-pollinating musically, and the overall affect is one of genuine pastiche. His Anglicised Elvis sneer, nasal doo-wops, and heartfelt delivery offering bubblegum rock with an edge, and I mean that with respect.
Half way through, the tracks wear their flamenco rock influences more obviously by way of acoustic guitars and the odd phrase of Spanish delivered in a Midlands brogue, then comes Sangre Till Dawn (sampling Dusk Till Dawn) where two brief guitar solos are unleashed that herald Westwood is about to shoot from the hip for the rest of the record.
Those tracks rock out charismatically with Just Another Friday Night as the big finish: a tale of wasted youth veering off into an inner-city midlife crisis for wretched lovers; inspired, it’s rock and roll with a heart of fool’s gold – And the perfect partner in crime to the opening track.
Available in various formats, the version I was given to review came with a CD’s worth of bonus tracks and includes previous band releases, live tracks and works in progress. Ranging from Goth rock to industrial noise experiments, it’s overlong for the casual listener but has a nifty cover of Adam & the Ants’ Stand & Deliver and a catchy speedy metal track in Sonic Reducer.
7.5 out of 10
- The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful
- Close As You’ll Ever Be
- Los Suenos De Los Meurtos
- Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves
- Sangre Till Dawn
- Rubi’s Got a Gun
- Last Train to Nowhere
- They Call Me Django
- Johnny Dangerous
- Just Another Friday Night
- Welcome to the Hotel De La Muerto (Gypsy Pistolero)
- House of 1,000 Dolls
- Para Siempre
- Baby’s got a Bomb (Live) (White Trash)
- Kill the Moon (White Trash/D Generation)
- Stand and Deliver (Gypsy Pistolero/Duende)
- Chica de la Luena
- Bandido (Ballad of Billy the Kid)
- Changeling (White Trash UK)
- Living Down with the Gypsies (Gypsy Pistolero/Duende)
- Wild, Beautiful, Damned
- Aye Que Dolor (Workshop)
- Changeling (White Trash UK)
- Killing Time
- Loco Loquito (Workshop)
- Los Blooper
- Mangi (Prince of Thieves)
- Sonic Reducer (Workshop)
- Woman (Orchestral Version)