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ARTIST
TITLE
Drumming For Pistols
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
FIRE 135CD FIRE 135CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
2/16/2010

Puerto Muerto is the Chicago-based husband and wife duo of Tim Kelley and Christa Meyer, and this is the follow-up to their 2008 album I Was A Swallow, also released on Fire Records. Drumming For Pistols, Puerto Muerto's swashbuckling full-length, is not for the faint of heart. In the words of singer/percussionist Christa Meyer, the title track is "basically a call to arms. I wanted the song to evoke thoughts of revolution, without specifically referencing the subject." Equal parts sweet and sour, swagger and swoon, the album's 13 cuts range from the ragtag-circus chant-y "Beautiful Women With Shining Black Hair" (featuring Devil In A Woodpile associate Gary Schepers on tuba), to the delirious, bilingual stomper "Tanze," to the sinister swamp-dirge "Song Of The Moon." "The Bell Ringer," a tender art song inspired by Werner Herzog subject Bruno Stroszek, has a ragged opulence, rife with stately strings supplied by Tiffany Kowalski (Bright Eyes, Head Of Femur) and handbells, which Meyer rang from a marble staircase for just the right touch of reverb. Other highlights include the rousing, intricately-arranged anthem "Arcadia," which Meyer says is about "the corruption and the fallacy of the American dream," and "Tamar," a grimy, gospel-tinged rocker ripped from the pages of the Old Testament. While Drumming For Pistols delivers all the elements that fans of the Chicago-based duo have grown to love -- the chameleon-like range of Meyer's classically-trained mezzo-soprano, Kelley's rough but supple baritone, well-constructed songs that seamlessly incorporate influences spanning Kurt Weill and The Clash -- the total effect transcends expectations. Producer and engineer Jamie Carter (TV On The Radio and Metallic Falcons) -- deserves a lot of the credit, inspiring the band to use their instruments, without relying on effects or computer fixes. In addition to Kowalski and Schepers, Gary James (Box Of Baby Birds), John Furman (The Cells), John Londay, and Carter also lent their instrumental expertise. Dark, driving, and drawing from Biblical, literary, and cinematic-sources, Drumming For Pistols is a theatrical tour-de-force.