Gun – ‘Favourite Pleasures’ (Caroline/Universal) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Monday, 31 July 2017 04:30

Gun FavPleasures Std CoverIf life hasn’t thrown you a few curveballs over the years, then clearly you ain’t doing things right. After all, who wants to tread the straight and narrow route down the path of tedious predictability when a few diversions here and there can liven things up? And if any band knows a thing or two about curveballs – and, more crucially, how to knock ‘em out of the park – then it’s Glasgow’s Gun. Hit albums and singles, break-ups, line-up changes… Gun have done them all - and more: and, at each turn, they have come back stronger and better than before – as they may well have proven with this, their seventh album, which was created against the backdrop of frontman’s Dante Gizzi’s break up with his then girlfriend and coming to terms with life as it stood at the time of writing and recording.

 

One thing that has always struck me about Gun throughout their turbulent career is their seemingly innate ability to mesh different styles and influences into one homogenous sound, and ‘Favourite Pleasures’ is no exception… opener ‘She Knows’, for example, is a straightahead rocker, with a thumping rhythm and a rich guitar riff, while the title track – influenced by the sexual peccadillos of a former roadie – has one of their characteristic funk grooves coupled with some truly fiery fretwork from new guitarist Tommy Gentry, while the deeply contemplative closer, ‘The Boy Who Fooled The World’, is stripped right back to just voice and piano to produce a beautiful paean to the lost innocence of Gizzi’s youthful journey of musical discovery.

 

In between, ‘Here’s Where I Am’ pounds like a Glaswegian steelworker’s hobnailed boots down a backstreet, while ‘Take Me Down’ boils with pent up fury, as Gizzi practically spits his words which perfectly complements the staccato main riff and thrumming bass line, as the song bounces and weaves like a flyweight boxer: again, it highlights the magnificent guitar work of Gentry, who is a truly positive addition to the Gun ranks, adding an extra layer of richness to their sound – as well as some huge hooks and blistering solos.

 

‘Silent Lovers’ is ripped straight from the heart of the 90s, strutting along with the confident, dandified swagger of a teenager heading out on the town with his first pay packet in his wallet and the knowledge that he’s the king of the world, for at least one night anyway. Again, it’s underpinned by a huge bass rumble from Andy Carr. ‘Black Heart’, like the title track, references Aerosmith in its background motif, while the lyric is very obviously influenced by Dante’s personal circumstances at the time, as he declares “I gave you everything that I ever had”. But, this is far from a break up or heartbreak song, or album for that matter… far from it’: it’s about picking yourself off the floor, dusting yourself down, glancing in the mirror of life and getting on with the damn thing with renewed optimism and vigour. It’s about using those experiences to inform your next step, and drive your forward to do that – and do so through stonking rock ‘n’ roll tunes such was ‘Without You In My Life’, with its irony-filled lyrics, stomping beat and searing guitar harmony.

 

 

‘Tragic Heroes’ marks another change in mood and pace: from its Big Country/Simple Minds-ish intro through its catchy refrain and chorus, which will have you singing the latter for days after you first hear it, it’s got hit single written all over it. And are those maracas I hear? Surely not! ‘Go To Hell’, to be honest, has me totally confused… the vibe is like the Stones jamming with the Crüe in their Corabi years, and you can just see Dante strutting around the studio as he repeatedly tells us how much he would “love, love, love….” Its subject to go to Hades. I hesitate to call it the weakest song on the album, as it is interesting and has its merits: but it’s not the strongest.

 

With ‘Favourite Pleasures’, Gun have gone and done it again: produced a rich and diverse album, one drawn from the deepest parts of the well of their experience, and one which lays everything, personally and emotionally on the line. It has a rich and organic feel, which can only be produced by a group of artists content with themselves, with each other and the situation in which they collectively find themselves. It has a rawness that suggests most of it was recorded, if not jammed out, in the studio. It is the sound of five musicians indulging in their favourite pleasure, and that is producing rock ‘n’ roll… and this album no doubt will live up to its title for many fans when it comes up for air in a few weeks’ time.

 

‘Favourite Pleasures’ is released on 15 September. You can pre-order your copy HERE.

 

Gun play the following dates in December:

 

Saturday 2 – Glasgow, Barrowlands (headline show)
Friday 8 – Manchester, Academy 3 (co-headline with InMe)
Saturday 9 – London, Electric Ballroom (co-headline with InMe)

 

www.facebook.com/gunOfficialUK/

 

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