Alternative Rock band Black Pistol Fire’s sixth overall album, “Look Alive,” is the Canadian-born, Austin-based duo’s latest work to push the limits of their hard-hitting sound.
Categorized as a mix of Southern Rock and Garage Punk, Kevin McKeown (lead vocals/guitar) and Eric Owen (drums) are now road-wise, festival-playing warriors not content with playing the same songs that gained them fan crowds at Austin City Limits, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Sasquatch Music Festival, to name a few.
“Look Alive,” introduces BPF’s new work, with McKeown lamenting about giving things up for the hypnotic freedom of asphalt on the open road, with an assist from bass runs and thumping drums locked in rhythm. Later, style changes in guitar playing swoon from thick, whole chords to delicate pickings and underpins the composer’s deliberate ability to control the song’s mood.
Tighter melodies contrasting with simple, yet dynamic guitar licks on “Pick Your Poison,” (a song about picking the lesser of two evils) and the strutting, funky flow of “Never Enough,” are just two examples of the adventurous work put into “Look Alive,” that still retains characteristics of the group’s rock sound.
Led by finger snaps, numerous guitar effect changes and a fast beat, “Wildfire,” shows the adaptability of the band’s play style where McKeown holds down Alt guitar phrasings, coupled with Owen’s busy percussion, this time mimicking electronic breakdowns.
“Hope and Hell’s” heavier emotions like, “Was hoping no one noticed this heart was left wide open, you walked right up and stole it ... (expletive) you and the horse you rode in on. Down on my luck but I never really had none,” are delivered alongside sorrowful, yet light-sounding Blues.
This track with the following dark ambiance of “Black Halo’s” opening scream and horror theme-sounding guitars, are more in tune with BPF’s earlier, hard-hitting, rebellious works.
In another unique Punky, Bluesy Rock song like “Level,” found on the latter half of their new record, the band’s dedication and excitement for their craft can be heard.
The pandemic may have hampered a lot of people throughout 2020, but Black Pistol Fire are on an upswing, having gained enough experience to start making truly provocative work like their new album, “Look Alive,” released on Jan. 29.
From a press release regarding the new album, McKeown and Owen said, “This album was by far the most difficult to make, but also, the one we are most proud of. We’re stoked for everyone to hear what’s been cooking these last few years.”