Pistol Annies, ‘Hell on Heels’ – Album Review
Pistol Annies make all the right moves on their debut album, available today, August 23. The 10 songs on 'Hell on Heels' were sown somewhere in Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe or Angaleena Presley's previous lives. While collaborating, they pull out and often expand upon the merciless details. It's brutally honest, raw and intimidating from start to finish.
The title track is quickly proven to be not just a gimmick, and while 'Lemon Drop' is more optimistic and good-hearted than the opener, songs like 'Beige,' 'Bad Example,' and 'Housewife's Prayer' are increasingly dark. Each one cuts like a surgeon's scalpel, with the latter opening with the album's most memorable verse. "I've been thinking about setting my house on fire / Can't see a way out of the mess I'm in and the bills keep getting higher / All I need is a match and a gallon of gas / God I'm getting tired / Gonna set this house on fire."
'Lemon Drop' shouldn't be overlooked amongst the attitude of these other four songs on the first half of the album. The chorus of this song is a perfect example of what these women do so well. Their songs tell complete stories in very few words. Mood, music and pronunciation fill many of the gaps, while the listener can't resist coloring in the rest. "My life is like a lemon drop / I'm sucking on the bitter to get to the sweet part / I know there are better days ahead."
By the time one gets to 'Takin' Pills,' the drama is a little exhausting. Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline may not be the perfect comparison for Pistol Annies. This trio's style is more audacious, almost going as far as someone like Hank Williams III (his country music, not the metal project). 'Boys From the South' takes a break from that; it's the song on the album Presley was referring to when she told Taste of Country there were more than just "ball-breaking" songs on the project.
The roller coaster levels out some during these two songs and 'The Hunter's Wife' before ending with the fed up and furious man-basher 'Trailer For Rent' and 'Family Feud.' At just over 30 minutes, the album is a little short, but it never feels that way due to the emotional peaks and valleys. That's the final thing Pistol Annies do right. They understand there's no need to crowd a near-perfect project with filler material just because convention dictates it.
The trio tells Taste of Country they've got another few albums worth of music written and ready to record. While we may take a break to gather ourselves, the thought of another new project similar to this soon-to-be award-winning album leaves us more excited than one should be in mid-August.