Album Review: Gun – “Frantic”
If the 1990s were the decade of girl power and cool Britannia, then pop-rockers Gun were its natural-born-Glaswegians. As a band they showed undoubted quality, but were forever out of step with the changing tides of consumer fashions. After 10 years, four albums and a spiky cover version of Cameo’s funk-pop standard Word Up, Gun split.
Revived in 2008 with a new line-up, Gun hooked up briefly with Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson before bassist Dante Gizzi swapped strings for vocals in time for the band’s full-length return Break The Silence. It turned out to be a wise move. The new Gun may have mellowed away from the riff-heavy orientation of their early albums, but what they haven’t lost is a knack for sweet hooks and solid songwriting.
Frantic finds the band on form and doing what they do best, namely big anthemic choruses and honest, authentic guitar rock. The influence of American stadium rock is present throughout, but it’s fair to say Gun have an ear on several other sounds too.
On opener Let it Shine, the Gizzi brothers go gospel and a choir of backing vocals fit hand-in-glove with the song’s straightforward statement of intent. It’s a sound they return to for the equally upbeat Hold Your Head Up. The Americana continues on One Wrong Turn, another gem of sub four minute guitar-pop, this time with a heavy dose of Tom Petty songcraft thrown in for good measure.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Frantic is how easily the supposedly dated sound of Gun shifts comfortably into contemporary indie rock. Don’t believe me? Skip straight to album’s title track for a stand-out string-led tune that’s more Killers than Kiss.
It’s highly doubtful that Frantic will go on to shift a hundred thousand records, or re-establish Gun as leading lights within the British rock scene, but it sure as hell won’t be for a lack of material. Gun could quite easily take easily take the ten tracks here out on tour, throw in Word Up and finish on the nostalgia of Better Days for a barnstorming 45 minute set.
Ultimately, it’s heart-warming to see a band at this stage of their career so on the ball and so determined to keep the rock n’ roll dream alive. If Gun are a band looking to make up for lost time, then Frantic is a joyride in Doc Brown’s DeLorean. This record is guaranteed to land high in end of year best of lists, so do yourself a favour and don’t be late to the party.