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At Her Majesty's Pleasure

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Album Review

The latest British hard rock resurgence gains another champion in Leeds' grammatically challenged Gentlemans Pistols, whose second full-length, 2011's At Her Majesty's Pleasure, sees an already talented lineup — led by former Voorhees man James Atkinson — enhanced by the arrival of lead guitarist and reformed grindcore pioneer Bill Steer...yes, the Carcass legend, latterly of Firebird. The resulting album is an ode to the analog era in no uncertain terms, as its songs absolutely bristle with the sort of Spartan, no-frills honesty that only precisely distorted geetars, pulsing bass, whomping drums, and slightly unhinged vocals can impart. It may not be all that original, but it sure is classic through and through, and of course connecting the dots to hard rock's fascinatingly twisted family tree is half the fun for those who listen. For example: "Comfortably Crazy" low-rides down the highway on ZZ Top staccato chords; the arena-ready "I Wouldn't Let You" plugs into the Kiss Alive II sparkplug; the frankly spectacular "Midnight Crawler" marries Free's aching power blues to a dangerously brooding vibe right out of the Led Zeppelin grimoire; and "Some Girls Don't Know What's Good for Them" astonishingly strips Black Sabbath to their underrated bluesy core. Then there are numerous high-energy numbers — like "Your Majesty," "The Ravisher," and "Living in Sin Again" (which has new man Steer quite literally, and not disparagingly, soloing circles around his bandmates) — that are guaranteed to keep bobs nodding, boots tapping, and butts shaking. Yes, a few of the album's second-half tracks could have probably been left off, but closer "Lethal Woman" rounds things out with another intriguing, anthemic guitar bolero robed in surprisingly apropos synths. By that point, Gentlemans Pistols have clearly proven their mettle many times over, and it's hard to imagine that too many albums will challenge At Her Majesty's Pleasure for the crown of 2011's top classic rock release.


Formed: 2003 in Leeds, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A versatile hard rock quartet from the north of England, Leeds-based Gentlemans Pistols were formed in 2003 as a three-piece around the talents of singer/guitarist James Atkinson, bassist Douglas McLaughlan, and drummer Simon Mawson. Offering up a heady blend of classic groove rock, vintage, Sweet-era glam, and blistering, psych-kissed punk rock, the band underwent the usual early-stage personnel changes before settling on the core lineup of Atkinson, Robert Threapleton, Bill Steer, and Stuart Dobbins....
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At Her Majesty's Pleasure, Gentleman's Pistols
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