Patrice Pike makes an interesting point about artistic creation. Whereas a critic can explain the arrangements of a particular song, its lyrics, and the tone of the vocalist's voice, he or she can't really explain the creative magic that makes it all work. Music, like religion, remains part mystery. A critic, nonetheless, can hopefully recognize the real thing when he or she sees it, and Fencing Under Fire qualifies. Pike, formerly of Sister 7, is joined by the Blackbox Rebellion, consisting of guitarist Wayne Sutton, drummer Michael Hale, bassist Danny Jesus Belltran, and percussionist John Bush. "Dominique" serves as a tuneful opener, but the funky "Jackknife Girl" and Stones-styled "Ms. Ramona" dig a bit deeper. While Pike's vocals work well on the lighter, melodic material, she really comes into her own on rockers like "Ms. Ramona" and "All My Love." When she delivers a line like, "Sun's going down/You're nowhere to be found/You're wasting all my love," the listener feels the emotional impact. She also cuts loose on "Angels," requesting divine assistance in the form of a rock & roll prayer. There are also a number of gentler, kinder tunes, like "The Wreckage" and "Sweet November," filled with great hooks, acoustic guitar, and animated percussion. The no-nonsense arrangements adjust to the needs of each song and provide plenty of cushion for Pike's powerful voice. Fun and catchy, Fencing Under Fire will please anyone who enjoys great vocals, a little bit of rock guitar, and smart songwriting.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.