Review: GUN – ‘Hombres’

Save for those 10 years of inactivity that began in the late 90s, GUN have been around in one form or another since signing with A&M Records in 1988 and came flying out of the traps with their debut album ‘Taking On the World’, released in 1989. One year later, the young Glaswegian band performed to tens of thousands of punters at Scotland’s national football stadium, Hampden Park, as special guests of The Rolling Stones on the rock giant’s ‘Urban Jungle Tour’. To put that timeline into perspective, Hampden Park still had perimeter fencing up at that time – and it was damn tricky to climb over them to get onto the pitch to get a better view – and the Stones still had Bill Wyman playing bass guitar. Seems like a lifetime ago, all of which makes it more impressive that with ‘Hombres’ GUN have delivered their strongest album in decades, or as Maiden’s Steve Harris puts it: “some of their best songs since Gallus!”

The youthful piss and vinegar of ‘Gallus’ might have faded with time, but GUN still display enough exuberance on ‘Hombres’ to give the chasing pack a run for their money. Opener ‘All Fired Up’ is not only a fast-paced gem that has GUN rolling back the years; it also seems to be a mission statement. With new guitarist Roo Macfarlane (Roo, short for Ruaraidh, not the wee guy from Winnie The Pooh) alongside founding member Jools Gizzi, ‘Hombres’ is a guitar-heavy album, and ‘All Fired Up’ packs some impressive riffage, the solo from 02:30 onward especially hits the spot as does the wailing intro that ushers in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. The latter is chockful of those hooks that GUN are famous for, along with a slow-burning groove, lashings of guitar fireworks, and an almost Marc Bolan-like vocal performance from Dante Gizzi that sparks memories of El Presidente – the criminally overlooked band that he fronted during the years that GUN disbanded.

‘Take Me Back Home’ is another early example of how full-of-life GUN sound in 2024, full-on and pedal-to-the-metal, it oozes class. Ditto the slower-paced ‘Fake Life’ which has some delicious guitar hooks and a bit of a Glam-infused feel to it. ‘You Are What I Need’ is perhaps the standout track of the ten that make up the standard edition of the album (get an extra three with the deluxe edition). Laidback with a Stones-y vibe (the simple guitar intro is effortlessly cool) it’s a beaut that is not in any rush to reach its destination, the female backing vocals are a fantastic addition (as are the slide guitar notes lingering in the background) and give the impression that the track was cooked up on the spot there and then.

The purveyor of thick galloping basslines is not wrong, for GUN mainstays Dante and Jools Gizzi have indeed cooked up some bangers on their ninth studio album; the first of all-new material since 2017’s ‘Favourite Pleasures’ (a strong album in its own right). 1992’s ‘Gallus’ is a cracking album, as is 1994’s ‘Swagger’, and ‘Hombres’ takes the best of both worlds and adds a touch of maturity that only comes with decades of experience in dealing with the music industry and coming out the other side standing tall (as best exemplified on closing track ‘A Shift In Time’ and the uplifting ‘Coming Back To You’ which is available on the deluxe version).

Pick up a copy of ‘Hombres’ at one of the listed instore appearances:

Mon 15th Apr – INVERNESS HMV – 5pm

Tue 16th Apr – ABERDEEN HMV – 5pm

Wed 17th Apr – LIVINGSTON HMV – 12pm

Wed 17th Apr – AYR HMV – 4pm

Thu 18th Apr – STIRLING HMV – 4pm

Fri 19th Apr – BURY Wax & Beans – 4pm

‘Hombres’ is available in multiple formats as standard, deluxe, and 20-track extended editions, including fully signed, on CD, vinyl, cassette, and digitally. Order here.

Catch the band at these launch events:

Thu 25th Apr – MONTROSE Town Hall

Fri 26th Apr – GLASGOW St Lukes (matinee*)

Fri 26th Apr – GLASGOW St Lukes (evening*)

Sat 27th Apr – DUNFERMLINE PJ Malloys (matinee*)

Sat 27th Apr – DUNFERMLINE PJ Malloys (evening*)

* doors will open at 5pm for the matinee performance and 8pm for the evening, with the band expected onstage approximately an hour later for an hour-long set.

For tickets and more info head to www.gunofficial.co.uk.

Review – Dave

Photo credit – Stevie Kyle

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