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Gun - Frantic (Review)

Gun, Frantic

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

GUN are no strangers to mixing it with the big boys, having played with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Simple Minds, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard in their time.

And it’s perhaps those experiences that help to explain why their new album, Frantic, owes much of its inspiration to the sound of some of those bands (most notably Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams), while also combining all the different styles of their own previous records.

The overall result is a record dripping with classic rock values that sounds like the band had a lot of fun making it. But while partly infectious, the LP lacks one genuinely outstanding moment to really get the adrenaline pumping. And perhaps that’s because it sounds too familiar within the context of what it’s trying to do and who it’s trying to emulate.

If that sounds harsh, then it’s not meant to be given that Frantic still manages to deliver some good, chant-worthy and – yes – anthemic and radio friendly moments.

Two of those come in the form of Beautiful Smile, which opens amid a giant rock riff that Whole lotta love era Zeppelin or Def Leppard would be proud of, before careering along with hard rock urgency, and the string-drenched title track Frantic, which complements Dante Gizzi’s haunting vocals with chirpy, radio-friendly melodies. It’s got to be another single in waiting.

Our Time is also anthemic, with a slow-building sense of optimism that is fully unleashed over the stadium-friendly chorus. It’s here that the Bon Jovi comparisons are most obvious – but in a good way.

In contrast, Hold Your Head Up is the sound of fairly average stadium filling rock, as is One Wrong Turn, which stick to a tried and tested rock formula without bringing anything urgent or special to the table. It’s moments like these that let the album down and prevent it from being great.

Nonetheless, Gun still have a couple more strong offerings up their sleeve, with Big City sounding like an ’80s Brat Pack tune (or Starship workout) that never was, and Seraphina dripping with another big guitar sound and a gutsy mid-track solo that’s worth sticking around for (even if the song itself is a Cheap Trick/Billy Idol kind of deal that flirts dangerously with sounding dated).

Final track Never Knew What I had also benefits from slowing down the tempo, layering in the pianos and hand-clap beats and ending things on a bittersweet power ballad moment that should bring crossover appeal.

Frantic is a good album; it just falls short of greatness. But it’s a fun listen for large periods.

Download picks: Beautiful Smile, Our Time, Frantic, Big City

Track listing:

  1. Let It Shine
  2. Labour of Life
  3. Beautiful Smile
  4. One Wrong Turn
  5. Our Time
  6. Frantic
  7. Hold Your Head Up
  8. Big City
  9. Seraphina
  10. Never Knew What I Had