Gentleman’s Pistols formed back in 2003, and hails from the United Kingdom. The group also becomes another band to enter into the recent Classic Rock revival that seems to be helmed by Rise Above Records and their collection of critically acclaimed acts that have a similar sound, or one that is remoniscent of Rock or Metal acts in their earliest of stages. Over the years, the band issued to 7″ releases, and put out their debut self-titled recording through Rise Above Records in 2007. Four years later, the acclaimed in the underground circles act returns with the anticipated follow-up full-length, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But, while they may be at her majesty’s pleasure, is this an album that is at the listener’s pleasure?
Surprisingly, while many other bands in this sort of style today really try to go for a more raw and analog sound to drudge up memories of the recording sound of the era they are trying to emulate, Gentleman’s Pistols don’t really go that route. At Her Majesty’s Pleasure does dabble in a quality that is a little on the raw side, but more by today’s Rock standards set by bands like The White Stripes and other bands that seem to have a little Punk in their veins without going too overboard to not be commercially successful. With that sound being present here, the guitars manage to capture a more modern sound, the overall performance does maintain more of a vintage Rock sound other British acts of yesterday and today. The bass is pretty loud in the mix, and does often tend to give the music a bit of a strong fuck to it at times, really establishing itself as an important layer to the mix that does more then just back up the leads guitars. The drums also sound great, having some pretty loud cymbols against some full snares and a decent thud to the bass kick. Vocally, it comes off more as a catchy Thin Lizzy-esque approach that has a slightly nasal sound to them with an enthusiastic performance that doesn’t go too over-the-top with it and knows when to stay grounded. At times, the band even seems to come off as having a strong early Thin Lizzy sound to the music as well, such as the track “Your Majesty” which ultimately just comes off a catchy, light, fun-hearted song from start to finish full of solid music and a strong performance.
And really, that’s what makes up most of this CD. At Her Majesty’s Pleasure has it’s mix of more serious tracks, some heavier Funk-fueled cuts, and just upbeat classic Rock songs that can bring a smile to your face. “Living in Sin Again” kicks off the album and makes for a catchy, faster, upbeat Rock song that you can’t help but bob your head along to, or at the least tap your foot along with the catchy music and drumming that accompanies the somewhat Blues driven approach to the song that really just makes it a feel good song. It’s a nice way to start the album, but “Comfortably Crazy” will take the listen back a bit, as it sounds unoriginal and more like it ripped off an already existing song, but one that I personally cannot recall the name or who performed it. Sadly, the same can be said for “Sherman Tank”, but that’s more through the simpler Funk-driven guitar chords used and still remains unique enough that it doesn’t feel like outright plagiarism like the aforementioned track does. The song is still a solid track, but the guitars really break away from coming off like an original song by the band. Much of the tracks here typically have that “Living in Sin Again” vibe, but never really feeling familiar in any sense like “Comfortably Crazy”, which does end up saving the album.
But while the band focuses more on that, there are some solid slower and more serious tones to the music. “Into the Haze” brings in more of a mature sound that does feel a more depressing in comparison to some of the more upbeat material, and often leans on the bass guitar to push the song, such as the bass only bridge that goes into the main verse after the guitar solo on the song, which actually is just the bass chords for the verses of the song. This again brings in a bit of a Funk drive to the song, an element necessary for this track to really stand out considering it’s much simpler sound and foundation.
There’s really no filler material here, and much of the album does try to bring in a good deal of quality to the Classic Rock tracks, but also give a good deal of variety. Even the closing songs of this release are strong. “I Wouldn’t Let You” stands out nicely with it’s more over-the-top energetic sound. Taking on more of an early Kiss approach to the songs, this track’s enthusiastic sound and the band’s similar performance here really makes the environment electric, focusing more on hook-driven riffs, though giving the bass a chance to shine through as well in the track, mostly prior to the guitar solo as it builds up to it. “Peeping Tom” does have more of a chugging sound to it, but the more energetic performance against some more serious music really does give this song more of a unique value to it then the others have. “Feed Me to the Lions” stands out as well for it’s simpler nature and catchier music.
Overall, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure is a solid offering, though not all the songs are that great. There are some simpler tracks that don’t quite live up to the others, mostly due to the more serious nature, and the more upbeat tracks really do stand out and leave you feel good yourself. The major downers here are the two tracks that do sound like other popular Classic Rock tracks, though I can’t really remember the band or song titles to go with that even though I hear the music and vocal performance in my hear against those tracks, so not being able to give examples on those two gripes I do appologize for. But, what it comes down to is that the band pulls off that Classic Rock sound well and is worth giving a spin, especially if you’re a fan of this style of Rock, or enjoying the vintage/classic Rock revival currently going on.