Pistolera - El Desierto y La Ciudad
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El Desierto & La Ciudad

When it began several years ago, the New York-based group Pistolera cultivated a “macha” gunslinger image – Latinas that rocked, proud of their Mexican roots. On the group’s latest, the members seemed to have moved into elegiac territory like Clint Eastwood’s aging gunfighter in “Unforgiven.” Many of the songs have a haunting quality – the electric guitars and singer Sandra Velazquez’s voice echo, calling to mind the vast solitude of the desert or empty concrete canyons of the late-night city in the title.

Tempos pick up toward the end, but overall this is a rock album that is more contemplative than pedal-to-the-metal partying. Maria Elena’s tasteful, spot-on accordion-playing gives the album a Tex-Mex rootsy feeling amid the electric guitar work; Velazquez’s arresting voice is a bit weather-worn and at its most beseeching is reminiscent of that of David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.

Even one of the rockier tunes has a refrain that says “Todo Se Cae” or everything falls apart. This all said, the album is perhaps their best – the poignancy feels more like an album of a mature artist rather than just sad-sack complainer. Velazquez’s voice and the spare arrangements make the dark hues a thing of blue beauty. It may not be an album you turn to for a quick pick-me-up, but it is invigorating in its tense, understated energy. - Marty Lipp

The band's web site: www.pistolera.net

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