Long Live the Smoking Gun- We Build Empires

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, December 14, 2008

While a number of younger bands have been trying to inject elements of southern rock into their music, there haven’t been a whole lot that have really been able to pull it off without sounding fake or gimmicky. However, Arizona based Long Live the Smoking Gun is the real deal. Their debut EP, We Build Empires, is a mix of fast paced southern rock with a little bit of hardcore/punk and a little bit of traditional country western vibe. That may sound like a bit of a hectic mix, but the band pulls it off with relative ease and is sure to convert listeners into fans in the 18 minutes that the disc lasts for.

Although Long Live the Smoking Gun has a full touring lineup, the band is mainly the work of Rob Easter. Easter is not only the group’s front man, but also provided all of the guitar and bass work for We Build Empires. The riffs throughout the course of this EP have a distinctive southern vibe to them, but often have the energy and chaotic nature of the punk/hardcore scene. This combination works extremely well, and unlike some of the other bands that have tried it in the past Long Live the Smoking Gun’s variety doesn’t feel forced at all. The instrumentals continue in this style for the majority of the release, with the exception of “Goodmen”, which is fully acoustic and adds a bit of an old school country twang to the southern rock style. Overall the songs are catchy and listeners will definitely be wanting more once the EP comes to a close.

Like the instrumentals, the vocals are filled with energy. Rob Easter has a style that is gruff yet understandable, and it often sounds as though he is pushing his voice to the limit. However, while his voice always appears to be heading towards its limitations it is clear that Easter has a good deal of control, as unlike other vocalists in the genre he never lets his voice go beyond that threshold. On a few of the tracks Long Live the Smoking Gun has brought in some guest singers to provide backup vocals, and this does help to enhance Easter’s range. The lyrical content also has a slight Western vibe, which is sure to help this band to stand out.

We Build Empires is an impressive debut release from a band who has a great amount of energy and hard hitting riffs. While there have been plenty of groups who have claimed to be southern rock and country inspired, Long Live the Smoking Gun is one of the few bands where that claim appears to be truly genuine. It may be only 18 minutes in length, but We Build Empires will be one of those releases that listeners constantly have on repeat and they will likely be anxious to hear what else Long Live the Smoking Gun will put out in the future.


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