Morsecode Records [Release date – 23.03.15]
Gun have been serving up their brand of pop tinged rock for the last twenty odd years and since their reformation in 2012 the guys have proved that there is still life in the band yet. This is the second album since Gun got back together following on from the aptly named ‘Break The Silence’ which was released to critical acclaim back in 2012.
This is also the second album to feature vocals by Dante Gizzi and I have to admit his vocal performance has split opinion in my household. I find them acceptable but perhaps not the strongest where as my wife thinks they are too close to Paulo Nutini for comfort!
The opening song, ‘Let It Shine’, has a gospel like intro which leads into a riff which is reminiscent of Def Leppard’s ‘Armaggedon It’. It is classic Gun though, polished pop rock with a great melody and some tasty guitar work from Jools Gizzi.
‘Labour Of Life’ follows which is the lead track from the album and is picking up good airplay, a more direct rock song with a big chorus enhanced with a brass section. I can see why the band chose to air this song first.
‘Beautiful Smile’ features an autotuned vocal effect which I found a bit grating and unnecessary but ‘One Wrong Turn’ gets things back on track with more rocking and a good vocal line. ‘One Wrong Turn’ continues in the same vein before the acoustic led ‘Our Time’ slows the pace a bit.
Album title track ‘Frantic’, unlike the name suggests, is a more laid back, reflective track complete with a string section for added effect. ‘Hold Your Head Up’ returns to the gospel feel of the opening track with multi layered vocals on the chorus. ‘Big City’ is another Gun signature track, melodic pop rock that will have your toe tapping and head nodding, it may not be original but it is fun.
The riff of ‘Seraphina’ had me singing XTC’s ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ in my head before ‘Never Knew What I Had’ brings the album to a close in low key fashion, the closest the album gets to a ballad.
I have listened to this album many times now and it is a good Gun album but ultimately it leaves me feeling unsatisfied. Gun’s music has always been a fine balance of pop and rock and when the band get that blend right the end results are something special but with ‘Frantic’ I feel the guys have played things a bit on the safe side, I was longing for Jools to break loose with a chunky riff or two.
That said ‘Frantic’ is an enjoyable listen which the band should be proud of just don’t expect it to rock your world too hard. ***1/2
Review by David Wilson
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