Tracer - El Pistolero

Tracer El Pistolero cover
El Pistolero
Mascot Label Group
Tracer took shape in 2004 out of the ashes of blues band The Brown Brothers, when Michael (vocals and guitar) and Leigh Brown (vocals and bass) teamed up with drummer Andre Wise in order to play much harder and heavier. Their 3rd and newest album is called “El Pistolero” and it’s a perfectly measured combination of heavy, southern and stoner rock.
Clearly influenced by the grunge/alternative sound of the early 90’s (I’ve heard a lot of Soundgarden stuff) and the hard rock scene of the 70’s, the record is full of heavy guitars, catchy tunes and pure rocking energy. “El Pistolero”, the first song sets up the mood for what is about to come. It’s a strong, rocking, not too fast, not too slow introduction to Tracer’s music. It is evident from the first second that what we are dealing with here is a bunch of guys who know how to create enjoyable and catchy music.
Do not look for any long guitar and drum solos or any show off moments in this album, because you will not find any. “El Pistolero” sounds like a well-oiled machine free from all such gimmicks. It is clear that the band viewed the album as a whole, and managed to make it as versatile as they could. I have to admit that they did a pretty decent job. Allow me to use tracks 3 to 8 as examples. “Dirty Little Secret” has a certain dark/happy-go-lucky Queens Of The Stone Age vibe. That song is followed by “Dead Garden” which kind of sounds like something Soundgarden would be proud to have recorded back in 1995. After that “Ballad for El Pistolero” is a Mexican acoustic guitar intro for the 6th track in the album, “Santa Cecilia” an extremely melodic but at the same time kind of dark tune. And right after that we have “Wolf In Cheap Clothes” which is a clear case of 70’s/early 80’s hard rock composition. As for “Scream In Silence”, the 8th track, well... that sounds like a heavy ballad from a Chris Cornell solo album.
So, it is safe to say that that the listener never gets bored listening to “El Pistolero” because Tracer is a good and imaginative band that deserves our attention. But, with that said, I don’t think the listener ever gets hooked with it either. It is obvious that these guys know how to play their instruments and compose good music, but at the same time they lack a little bit in originality. Therefore, what the listener is left with is an album that is actually really good, but never takes that final step in order to become a classic one.