Make us your home page
Instagram

Review: New Pistol Annies release lacks firepower

Ashley Monroe, left,  Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert.

Associated Press

Ashley Monroe, left, Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert.

No one saw the Pistol Annies coming. Led by Nashville troublemaker Miranda Lambert, whose solo career was already gangbusters, the sorta-supergroup sounded like the kind of girls who would steal Carrie Underwood's lunch money.

The Annies were pretty, but they sure weren't princesses. Their 2011 surprise, under-the-radar debut Hell on Heels was a lo-fi blast, a sexy, sepia-toned salute to the sass of patron sinner Annie Oakley. Drink, smoke, shoot, shatter some poor boy's heart — repeat.

But much like, say, the Traveling Wilburys' follow-up record, the new Annie Up is missing something, and maybe it's the refreshing novelty and recklessness of the first LP. This one feels too careful, maybe too planned, and gone is the bounty of irresponsible gems like Hell on Heels' stalking title cut and the brilliantly besotted Takin' Pills, which sounded like Bob Dylan if his name had been Roberta ("She's got a Tennessee mountain point of view / If you're gonna have one might as well have two").

No doubt these are extremely talented women. Lambert (who goes by "Lone Star Annie") and cohorts Ashley Monroe ("Hippie Annie") and Angaleena Presley ("Holler Annie") have distinctive, retro-fitted voices that twang, yelp and seduce. Monroe just released the critically gushed-upon album Like a Rose, and Presley might be the best pure singer of them all.

And the album opens with one heck of a promise: the slow harmonizing heat of I Feel a Sin Comin' ("Please Jesus don't hold me back"). Next up is the rockabilly swing of Hush Hush, a bawdy family drama written by all three of them and loaded with vodka, pot, bad religion — all the Annies' trademarks ("Hide your tattoo / Put on your Sunday best / Pretend you're not a mess").

There are a couple of other keepers; the acidic Unhappily Married ("Must be mistaking me with the maid we don't have") is a doozy. But too often the songs fail to spark. Being Pretty Ain't Pretty is played as a sad feminist dirge — it's basically a gripe about lipstick played straight — and might have worked better as a wild-haired rocker.

The album's second half is almost entirely filler: the milquetoast Don't Talk About Him, Tina and Girls Like Us, the weeper Trading One Heartbreak for Another. There's no bite, no edge. It's not bad; it's just not captivating, which you would think would be impossible at a party thrown by Miranda Lambert. Even worse, on closer I Hope You're the End of My Story, the Pistol Annies sound like someone you'd want to bring home to mama. And really, where's the fun in that?

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Pistol Annies, Annie Up (RCA) GRADE: C+

Review: New Pistol Annies release lacks firepower 05/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 4:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 23

    Events

    Marie Antoinette: Freefall 411: A contemporary look at the historic pariah looks at Marie Antoinette through the lens of society's obsession with celebrity. Through August 13. A brief talk prior to the performance provides insight to the production. 1 p.m., show starts at 2 p.m., Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central …

    Lucas Wells as King Louis XVI, left, and Megan Rippey as Marie Antoinette in Freefall Theatre's "Marie Antoinette."
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 22

    Events

    Snooty the Manatee's 69th Birthday Bash: Snooty, documented by Guinness World Records as the oldest known manatee in captivity, turns 69 and celebrates with children's games, art activities, cookies, drinks , interaction with Snooty the mascot and reduced price museum admission. 10 a.m., South Florida Museum, 201 …

    Snooty the manatee poses for a photo Thursday morning while three young manatees are unloaded from Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Thursday morning at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.
PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton.com 12/20/07
  3. Spring Hill to mark golden anniversary with celebration at Lake House

    Events

    SPRING HILL

    It was 1967 when the Deltona Corp. began selling homes in western Hernando County, a rural area that previously had been little more than a vast forest of oak and pine trees.

    This photo, taken in 1967, shows Spring Hill’s signature waterfall at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19. The community will celebrate its 50th anniversary on July 27.
  4. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Ready to go it alone? Tips for easing into solo travel

    Travel

    Since 2012, Kristin Addis has been traveling the world. More often than not, she's solo.

    Travel author Kristin Addis takes soloness to another level at Dead Horse State Park in Utah. Before you book an international trip, try starting small to test the waters.