Despite If The Devil Cast His Net being their third outing, Pearl Handled Revolver are a new band to me so I fired up the MP3 player with very little idea of what to expect. What I got was a very interesting, chilled blend of Clapton, The Doors and perhaps something more modern… stoner rock perhaps? Whatever, it’s a mixture of old and new which works very well indeed, like picking the perfect malts to blend for just the right taste.
The modern edge isn’t just in the sound, but in the lyrics as well. I think “Help Me Down From The Trees” is the first song I’ve actually ever heard which includes the word “hashtag” in its raucous build-up. This track alone sets up the album, replete with every seventies electric guitar favourite. Brash synths/keyboards, airy background sounds, gravel-toned vocals, simple drum rhythms, wah-wah pedal aplenty… If it’s not there then it wasn’t used forty years ago.
This is the kind of music hippies can nod their heads and shuffle their feet to… or if the band choose to ramp things up a little live – and a little is all it would take – several of the songs could be bouncy, fist in the air rock anthems. “Don’t Throw is Away” is one of these. With a chorus that’s easy to sing along to and a driving rhythm, this is verging on headbanging territory. It stops very suddenly and the far more mellow “Someone Like You” throws things right off balance. It’s more of a chill-out song. Even standing up while listening to it feels wrong. This track needs to be reclined to.
The title track is another more rocky song, then we have “Walk These Streets” which comes across like a country ballad, with its downbeat lyrics very much to the front with the music taking a back seat. Having said that, this understatement makes it one of the best songs on the album. Absolutely beautiful. Haunting.
“Absinthe in Adelaide” (listen to it below) and “Loverman” are both far more funky with the latter probably being the most seventies-influenced track on the album. I just can’t imagine this track having been written recently. If I didn’t know better I’d insist it was a cover by a band from four decades ago!
Closer “Into the Blue” takes the last word of its title to heart and it very much a bluesy number, chugging along nicely with deep vocals on top and keyboards crashing in now and again to add a little contrast.
For those who’ve played their old seventies vinyl rock collection to death, here’s an album you can slip right in there and it’ll feel perfectly at home. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a strange urge to go out and buy a paisley shirt…
If The Devil Cast His Net is out on April 29th