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Gentlemans Pistols: Hustler’s Row

Flintlock rockers bust their britches on third album.

The Leeds lads with the arcane name and the refreshingly non-trendy taste in Wishbone Ash-style twin guitars and vintage Sweet B-sides don’t qualify as prolific. Luckily their third album in eight years is as nippy as their influences are old-school.

Bandleader and producer James Atkinson and his lead guitar foil Bill Steer have a telepathic understanding, suggesting the songs have been gestating for an age. Last-minute spontaneity is lacking but these Pistols aren’t really about anarchy.

Opening track The Searcher and Time Wasters are Atkinson’s cris de coeur and probably the best things on view. A glam drum stomp pervades elsewhere and nothing hangs about to outstay its welcome. Lady Teaser is better than its title suggests, having a whiff of Badfinger about the fringes.

Hustler’s Row, a power ballad of sorts, closes the deal with a flourish: all very competent and just too safe. Make the next one quicker?

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.