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Album Review : GUN: Hombres.

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

GUN are a Scottish hard rock band from Glasgow. Originally called Blind Allez, then for a short time Phobia, GUN were formed in 1987 by Giuliano “Jools” Gizzi (guitar) and Cami Morlotti (bass), with Mark Rankin (vocals), Alan Thornton (drums), David Aitken and Gary Moore (guitar). The ensuing years saw many lineup changes, and at one time GUN included Toby Jepson on vocals.

GUN’s current lineup consists of original members Dante Gizzi (vocals) and Giuliano “Jools” Gizzi (guitar) along with Paul McManus (drums), Andy Carr (bass) and Ruaraidh “Roo” Macfarlane (guitar). Starting in 1989 with ‘Taking on the World’, GUN have released eight studio albums, three of which have made the UK Top 20, and have had eight UK Top 40 hit singles. The most successful of these was a cover of Cameo’s ‘Word Up!’, which reached the top 10 in 1994.

‘Hombres’, the ninth studio album, is set for release on April 12th, 2024 via Cooking Vinyl. The record boasts guest vocals from Beverley Skeete, Mary Pearce and Sarah-Jane Skeete of The Sisterhood on several tracks, as well as a guest performance on the drums from Joe Lazerus of Twin Atlantic. 2024 also marks the 30th anniversary of GUN’s silver-certified, third album ‘Swagger.’

The first time I saw GUN play live was back in 1992, when they opened for Def Leppard at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

The deluxe version of ‘Hombres’ has an impressive 13-tracks (including 3-Bonus Tracks), and a running time of 47 minutes. The standard version has 10-tracks and a running time of 36 minutes.

The album opens with ‘All Fired Up’, which was the first single released in late 2023. A classic 80’s riff gets the head nodding from the off. It’s as if time has stood still, as it instantly reminds me of 1989’s ‘Taking On The World’, it’s radio friendly and has bounce. Dante Gizzi’s vocal is crystal clear, the guitars razor sharp. The chant inducing chorus will be a favourite amongst a live set.

Up next is another single, in the form of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. This is slower, but arrives with a heap of attitude. There’s more than a nod to the blues, the vocal harmonies are silky smooth, with McManus reminding us this is a rock song with his powerful beats. Throw in a potent guitar solo and the sub-3-minute track is over way too soon.

The bounce and swagger returns for ‘Take Me Back Home’, a vibe of feel-good summer is bursting out. The hooks and sliding harmonies ooze fun. Dante Gizzi’s vocal is quick, the racing beat will have everyone on their feet.

Paul McManus’ drum salvo brings in ‘Fake Life’, we’re then eased in with a calm riff accompanied by Gizzi’s measured vocal. Carr and McManus provide a swinging beat that is a real toe-tapper, the soaring vocals glide effortlessly through the track. The chilled-out tempo lets the listener relax and enjoy the sounds.

‘Falling’ begins with Dante’s vocal and a simple, effective circular riff. The band join in and the pace increases, the guitar riffs grow quicker, lifting the aural senses, McManus gives the track a real heartbeat. “Roo” Macfarlane’s lead break sizzles as the track closes.

The Stones-esque riff introduces ‘You Are What I Need’, Dante’s vocal the prominent feature, the backing vocals from The Sisterhood add a soothing bluesy sound. It’s a track full of emotion. The guitar solo carries the soul to happy places. A track that massages the ears.

‘Never Enough’ begins with a start/stop riff, this has a harder sound, a track with edge. Carr and McManus are driving the track forward as the dual guitars grab the attention with interchanging sounds controlling the tempo.

Dante is telling us a story, ‘Don’t Hide Your Fears Tonight’ picks up the pace and the rockier sound. The whole band has a punchier tone. Chugging riffs, the rhythm section’s intensity increases and the vocals are delivered with power.

The most recent single ‘Lucky Guy’ is next, it starts with a hard bass line from Andy Carr, as Dante narrates the lyrics with The Sisterhood adding vocals in the background. The beat is even and steady, before exploding with heavy grinding riffs. The track has boldness and personality. The fists will be punching the air when this is played live.

The standard format of the album concludes with ‘A Shift In Time’. Gentle acoustic strumming and Dante’s calm lyrics start, before a rich wall of sound tumbles down. The anthemic vibe will have the arms waving. It’s classic 80’s rock with rising melodies and lead breaks.

The bonus tracks on the deluxe version begin with ‘Coming Back To You’. Starting slow and steady it soon picks up it’s feet. Clever riffs are combined with Dante’s vocal tone to make an effective mix; the tempo increases then a searing solo is released. The catchy chorus will soon have the crowds singing along.

The pace continues with another singalong anthem ‘Wrong To Be Right’. The guitars have been down-tuned to add a little sleaze, and it works well. The rhythm boys have us up on our toes. The hook is infectious and implants itself firmly into the sub-conscious. It should be a stand alone single in its own right.

The charge persists, ‘Pride’ is the final track, opening with a driving riff and punching beat. Dante’s melodious flowing vocal carries surging riffs and metronome beats straight into the ear canal. Like the previous two tracks this will be an absolute banger played live.

‘Hombres’ has excellent production, incorporating a clever mix of harmonies and solos. Get yourself a copy of the deluxe version if you can manage it, the final bonus tracks are rocky and full of bounce. I’m in agreement with Iron Maiden legend Steve Harris who is quoted as saying about ‘Hombres’, “Some of their best songs since Gallus!” Over the next couple of weeks GUN will be doing a few signing shows, and GUN have just announced a headline tour on the run up to Christmas, I will be hoping that some of ‘Hombres’ tracks will be included in their set.

Hombres track list

Standard edition

  1. All Fired Up
  2. Boys Don’t Cry
  3. Take Me Back Home
  4. Fake Life
  5. Falling
  6. You Are What I Need
  7. Never Enough
  8. Don’t Hide Your Fears Tonight
  9. Lucky Guy
  10. A Shift In Time

Deluxe edition

  1. Coming Back To You
  2. Wrong To Be Right
  3. Pride

pre-order the upcoming NEW album ‘Hombres’ https://GunBand.lnk.to/HombresYo, out 12th April 2024.

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