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Bang Tango: Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt

Back in 1989 Bang Tango burst onto the LA scene with a funked up sound that brought a new classy sassy outlook to the Melodic/Glam norm of the time. That some people lumped the Tango's in with bands like Poison and Pretty Boy Floyd meant that they hadn't actually gone beyond the sneers and bandanas and taken the time to be smacked around the head with the almighty bass thump that made debut EP Live Injection and full album proper Psycho Cafe the infectious, groove-fests they still are over two decades later. From there BT released the slicker, more mature Dancin' On Coals and the under rated Love After Death, before splitting up. Since that third album in 1994 the band split, only to reform with a wide and various amount of line-ups that have attempted to keep the Bang Tango name alive, with varying degrees of success. Hence Bang Tango 2012 is actually original singer Joe Leste and...well..... three other guys. Now Leste's voice has always been an integral part of this band's sound, however there was so much more to Bang Tango's first three studio albums (between then and now there have been another two BT albums with a revolving door of musicians taking part), that in truth Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt only really sounds like Bang Tango from time to time. Gone is the thumping, throbbing, bouncing, beating bass and the shuffle beats and snare smacks that marked the Tango's out as something with more substance than their contemporaries and in its place comes a sound that really could, without Leste, be any number of bands.

That's not to say that PWITBB is a bad album, in fact it is far from it, but whether it is Bang Tango, well, that's another story. Kicking in with the snot-nosed Punk-Metal of the rather oddly titled "Dick In The System", the initial and it has to be said convincing attitude reminds of Demolition23, or D-Generation, with the staccato bursts of guitar and steady beat making a powerful statement. "Suck It Up" however finds Leste sounding like a cross between Ian Astbury and Lemmy, with his unhealthy sounding rasp removing a lot of the focus from the pretty sharp guitar work and busy percussion. And really that's pretty much how the album continues. There are a few gems and a couple of clunkers, with some other half-decent stuff thrown in for good measure, which, when you consider that the whole thing barely reaches the thirty five minute mark ain't really saying much.

Right out of the top drawer comes the aforementioned "Dick In The System", the more considered and restrained "I Like It" - where the vocals are more of a drawl and the guitars have an easy, Bluesy cool - on any album this song would be a standout. The likes of "Drivin", "Bring On The World" (possibly the most traditionally Bang Tango song on show here) and the upbeat goodtime frolic of "Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt" all hold up their end of the bargain - if unspectacularly. Whereas the spoken word intro to "Live Life", which talks of bashing fruit, serving soup and Bang Tango being chefs and cooks, is the sort of thing that I probably would have learned by heart - when I was fourteen, but now sounds a fair distance over the line marked completely cringeworthy, something the Rock by numbers which follows it doesn't recover from. Add to that the very predictable "Our Way", where Leste struggles again and "Have You Seen Her", which tries desperately hard to be "November Rain" by Guns & Roses (but without the production budget) and it would be fair to say that this is an uneven album. Even as a someone who was and still is really into early Bang Tango, I have to be honest and say that I'd be happier if Leste went out under his own name, or revived the excellent and harder hitting Beautiful Creatures, rather than release hit and miss albums like this. Not bad, but just not great enough, never mind being way too short, Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt suggest that there may be just not enough bang left in this tango....

Track Listing
1. Dick In The System
2. Suck It Up
3. Our Way
4. Bring On The World
5. Have You Seen Her
6. Live Life
7. I Like It
8. Boom Box Seance
9. Drivin
10. Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt

Added: February 9th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bang Tango MySpace
Hits: 2712
Language: english

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