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Album Review of Smoking Flower's "Two Guns" 
- by Terra James-Jura

The first thing the eye is drawn to on the black and white cover of Smoking Flowers “2 Guns” is the duo locked in a kiss.  Its romantic, passionate, and fugitive; Westley and Buttercup, Johnny and June, Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater…  so of course I wanted to dismiss it as hokey duet nonsense.  And of course, when one judges an album by its cover, one is made to look a damn fool. 

This is a great stuff; it is built on the harmony and exchanges of Kim and Scott Collins.  Together they cover such topics as love, fights, and California, all with an artful handle on the theatrics of performing as a couple.  While it’s hard not to imagine each line being sung with the two completely lost in intense eye contact, the album never goes overboard with nor hides behind the male/female dynamic.  It’s tender where it needs to be, sad in the slow parts, and brawny and fierce everywhere else. 

The thing that made me happiest listening to “Two Guns” was the bass line.  It anchors every track with a punk rock backbone to prevent any song from becoming too maudlin.  It’s almost an unnecessary insurance; Kim Collin’s voice, while lovely, is also capable of an excellent rasp/snarl, complimented by Scott’s barely contained frenzy of a tenor.  If he was aiming for Frank Black/Jack White combination, Jesus he is dead-on and really wily for it.

 “Two Guns,” covers a wide range: there’s bayou-inspired waltz El Matador complete with an accordion breakdown (courtesy of Mrs. Collins.)  There’s a sense of Kim Deal/Pixies in the vocals/snare drum/chord progression in the first verse of “Something I Said,” and again when the guitar comes in for a solo with the same chunky, psycho-surf distortion on it.    And my favorite is the love-is-grit-in-your-eye opening track, “Spark and Fire.”  

And yes, the pair has been married for 14 years, and weathered the rigors of the road as well as personal illnesses.  So all of that hokey duet nonsense I mentioned earlier is absolutely legit.  It’s a highly recommended album for rock and country fans, and especially to listeners that enjoy peeling the sheets off last night’s scratch marks.  It is due to be released August 20th, and Smoking Guns will be performing at the Loveless Cafe Barn on August 21st for Music City Roots.

 
              

 
 
 

 

Smoking Flowers
Two Guns