Pistol Star
"Crawl"

(Wax Orchard 2004)Pistol Star - Crawl

Paul Kimble is perhaps known best for his spot in Grant Lee Buffalo on bass and keyboards. Grant Lee Buffalo frontman Grant Lee Phillips has said Kimble "had a side to his personality that really encouraged the more melancholic, melodic pieces of music that we were known for." And indeed that comes through on "Crawl" from Kimble's new band Pistol Star. But "band" does not seem to be the right word. While there are collaborators, Kimble commandeers the album -- a story that the album's credits quickly back up.

Thumping grooves come through on "Mr DJ" but really the rhythms really come into their own on "We Never Close" as the song assertively takes control. Kimble's vocals fill out on the rich but understated piano ballad "Halo" while "I Don't Feel That Way" takes a classic approach with smooth strings and soft falsetto harmonies. "Candy" is upbeat and bouncy before castanets click on the deeply textured "Lovely Lolita," blending deep background vocals with Kimble's sweet crooning lead and remind of Kimble's contribution of "Bitter's End" on the "Velvet Goldmine" movie soundtrack. The album's quietest moment, "It's OK," is a vocals and acoustic guitar combination that is poignant and unforgettable.

With his catalogue of work and experience -- from Grant Lee Buffalo to a long list of production credits -- it is highly unlikely that anyone was ever questioning Kimble's abilities. But with Pistol Star, Kimble gets a chance to be the lead creative force and still maintain some anonymity with the Pistol Star moniker. "Crawl" is a grab bag of sounds that, at its heart, is a focused and full album with rich, smooth sounds.

B+

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