How many of you have ever asked the question “I wonder what happened to Gun?”, and if you did, did you follow that question up with “You know, they did that cover of ‘Word Up’ a few years back”? A bit of a generalisation but that is what most music-buying members of the public will remember them for because by covering that song – a ballsy move by any band – the Scottish rockers made a bit of dent in the mainstream, and the album that it came from – 1994’s Swagger – was something of a gem when it came to anthemic hard rock. Despite their success the band split in 1997 after a name-change to G.U.N. and a poorly-received follow-up album.
But after several reunion shows and an EP that came out in 2010 the band are fully back in action. Now consisting of bassist-turned singer Dante Gizzi (replacing Little Angels man Toby Jepson, who had been fronting the band since 2008), guitarist Jools Gizzi, drummer Paul McManus and bass player Derek Brown the band have a more obvious pop edge than before. But before all you hard rockers start blubbing into your beer this is hardly a Spandau Ballet album, the pop sensibility coming through the gorgeously catchy melodies the band have running through most of the songs on here. It’s immediate from the off that Dante Gizzi is a different kind of singer to Jepson and his predecessor Mark Rankin – who sang on all of the band’s albums before their initial split – with his higher register voice sounding a little like Axl Rose in places, especially on the ballsier numbers like the driving ‘Bad Things’ or the Celtic-inspired ‘Innocent Thieves’. His delivery during the opening lines on first track ‘Butcher Man’ could possibly put off a few people used to Rankin’s lower register, but stick with it and once the album has settled in to its more solid middle section you’ll find his voice is more suited to the countless hooks the songs are throwing out.
As proudly confident as anything they’ve done before, Break the Silence is a damn fine album and one that, if truth be told, came out of left field. Loud, bold, catchy and as soulful as any British hard rock band that you could care to name, Gun may just have pulled off the comeback of the year here.