Two Dollar Pistols

Two Dollar Pistols

Hands Up!

Yep Roc

In these days of intentional and unintentional irony, it’s a dangerous thing to play completely straight-faced, straightforward country rock. Regardless of solidness of song writing, the confines of the honky tonk genre are fairly rote and constricting at this point. As such, a good portion of the songs on Hands Up! can be traced back past influences and attached to specific songs. The swaggering “Runnin’ With the Fools” toes the same smirking anti-wit attitudinal line as George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” while the plodding “Without Goodbye” is a bargain basement version of Freakwater’s “Jesus Year.” The band overcomes its redundancy occasionally, as on the self-assured roots-rockers “Too Bad That You’re Gone” and the excellent title track. The pace of these songs also enlivens singer John Howie, Jr.’s drawling baritone twang beyond its usual, overly melodramatic state.

Two Dollar Pistols’ aim with this album was to reclaim “country” music from its pop perverters. Hands Up! certainly takes a small step in that direction, but they’ll have to move quite a bit farther from the edge of clich• before their conviction becomes convincing.

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