The key word that springs to mind when listening to ‘Favourite Pleasures’ is fun. Gun obviously had fun recording it, and if you aren’t smiling from ear to ear by the time it fades, you may want to check your pulse! It’s light, funky as hell, and above all, fun. Marc Bolan is all over the media at the moment as it’s both the 40th anniversary of his tragic death, and close to his 70th birthday. ‘Here’s Where I Am’ is testament to how much of an influence Bolan still is even today. It’s a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, glam-tastic romp that purrs like a finely tuned Rolls Royce. The simple drum beat throughout is very effective, and provides the foundation for guitarists Jools Gizzi and Tommy Gentry to let fly. The fuzzy solo near the end is air guitar inducing, and it’s very much a case of job done. Before they launch the smouldering glam tinges, the band show all their years of experience by opening the album with a fine slice of modern rock in ‘She Knows’. That sound? That’s the sound of Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics slapping his head exclaiming “D’oh!”, as it sinks in that he didn’t write it. The title track is perhaps the funkiest track about bondage and s&m that you’ll hear this year. The cover artwork, featuring an apple unzipping to reveal ripped fishnets, should have offered up a few clues to the subject matter. Featuring a fantastic thumping groove as well as some more incendiary guitar licks, it’s a fun few minutes that will raise a wry chuckle from the more liberal minded amongst us. I’m saying no more on the subject.
‘Favourite Pleasures’ is very much a return to the guitar driven, arena friendly rock that Gun were famous for in the early days. It sits well alongside debut album ‘Taking On The World’ and the sublime ‘Swagger’ from the nineties. It’s a bit more polished sounding, but there’s still enough rock to shake a shitty stick at, ‘Silent Lovers’ being a great example, with its gorgeous layered vocals, huge hooks, and a commercial sheen to it. The pacing is crucial though, as ‘Black Heart’ follows on with its mystical qualities and hypnotic drum beat. Lovely riffage on this one. ‘Without You In My Life’ is another foot-stomping beauty that begins with a simple staccato guitar, slowly building into a wall of noise. Very infectious. ‘Go To Hell’ is live sounding, with a sneering vocal from Dante Gizzi, as he lets off some steam with a few well aimed barbs, at whom, I’m not sure, but it sounds like he’s a tad pissed. Rounding out the standard version of the album is the piano led ‘Boy Who Fooled The World’, a bittersweet tale about tuning into the radio in order to record that one track that stands out. As the song spreads out it turns into a story of someone emulating the very same heroes that he sat listening to, fingers poised on a Friday night, waiting to press record. Again, it’s a song that everyone over a certain age can identify with. The days of Tommy Vance on the Friday Night Rock Show, and in Scotland, Tom Russell on Radio Clyde straight after.
A very strong album indeed, proving Gun are still very much alive and kicking. Available now in various formats. Gun play what has become a traditional show at Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom in December, followed up by dates in Manchester and London. More information here.
Review: Dave Stott