HISTORY OF GUNS
FLASHES OF LIGHT - Promo
(Liquid Len Recording Company)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
A one track promo from the album of the same name, due for a bloody birth in January, this is the next step in this band’s vibrant existence. It comes wrapped in some kind of Medusa concept with intriguingly abstruse academic woffle and you can sit back, contemplatively mumbling, ‘hmmmm, yes, Medusa!’ pretending to be very learned indeed. I haven’t got the clear what they’re on about, or how the death of Medusa can be taken as a Feminist elegy but that’s not important, because I’m simply thinking, ‘Impress me, boys!’
And they do. Whispering, wibbly-wobbly vocals move through and across the pleasantly freefall background music, there’s that indefinable magic potential just hanging in the air. And as one portion dissolves, the corpuscular beat begins to flex and flow, starting some neurotic dance.
Slowly, the gravelly vocals assume form as a smattering of music appears then shatters, and noises come through unpleasantly. There are weird vocals; spoken passages, really, which assume for the form of dialogue, or mad utterances that rhyme.
It’s music with seriously advanced, filmic confidence and attitude, exuding mystery, and has such clout it’s ambition is clearly being realised. The drums start to deliver impact, then pause, and the next thing you know it’s a different drum sound. This is more than just attention to detail, this is music unfurling.
And as the sounds get warmer so the consistently strange vocals get to impress, because this is History Of Guns, in that they create massive sounds, in a forthright modern manner, but against this impressively melodic scythe sweeping through the very highest standards, there comes the voice of a crazed man. Think James Bond dancing to some old Bauhaus bootlegs. Think of a gauche Lydon. The music rises up ad around the scrawny vocals legs, to fill out like a luxuriantly saucy dress, and the vocals hit this part about, "Nothing you can get", which is when it hit me.
Think of "Well, nothing you can touch" from the stunning ‘Pretty In Pink’. This isn’t a copy of Butler’s delivery, I don’t mean that. It’s simply that brilliant. That distinctive. That sure a sign of a band with an identity all their own.
There is no-one else like this in the UK Scene, that’s for sure, and when they call themselves post-industrial Goth it makes wonderful sense. Take the potential we all thought The Horatii once had, before they chose cryogenic suspension, and multiply a few times, because History Of Guns are several levels up, with ease, and this album had better be pretty fucking special, or this promo will remain behind to damn them.
I shouldn’t be too worried, because this is probably just a taster for the deluge to follow. One song, but it’s just like the Tardis. It’s enormous inside.
HISTORY OF GUNS
FLASHES OF LIGHT (Full Length CD - Liquid Len)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
The accompanying press release does its best to put us at our ease:
Before you review our CD please consider the following facts.And before you get thinking they should be in politics, you’re already in their hands, with the double header Flashes Pt 1 and 2 doing what the vast – and we’re talking corpulent percentages - majority do in Industrial circles. They have plenty of noises whirling but these are melodically placed to set out the story our garbled host will provide. The noises hang together constructively, creating as much mystery as menace, loitering behind the distinctively glazed vocal drawl. The rhythm snakes forward as lines of dialogue are spat out. Trip-hop beats are produced and used with military precision, with a beautiful synth providing relief. It’s like following them through a cave with your walkman turned down low as the grenades casually spill from their pockets.
They’ll always set up a spry rhythm, and even the weirder vocals have a sing-song lilt. The songs will slow and fracture before starting again, which most bands do, but here their shuffle beat is so superb you take these as gaps not irritation. It’s never ugly, and never too weird, even when the sleepy piano mixes with the epigrammatic vocals.
That’s twenty minutes of music before you hit ‘Going Hollow’, where the vocals sound shaky, because that’s his style and he uses them incisively, even when the music sounds like a religious cult might like it. ‘Pattern Death’ is a simple hammer beat and speed rhythm, while the vocals lurch all over you. Think Pop Group, think Pil, then update your mental PC. Their spleen there is vented through a funnelled composition, but after that they slow down with ‘Blown’, almost a murky ballad by their way of thinking.
‘Learning Curve’ is slurred and battered and up to no good, but has an inviting quality. (This is what you want as you wander about town.) It’s semi-abstract, with these lyrical points obviously meaning something but requiring time to push into a semblance of order. They’re not being profound, just mirroring their own desire to make sense of the insensible world; that return ticket to Hell burning a hole in their pockets. And they’re fucking funny too. ‘Flashes Pt 3’ should raise a smile as he mumbles on, and the rhythm buffets you saucily.
‘Thunder In The Airwaves’ isn’t a Toyah
tribute, just a wavering piano–led traipse
The reason that anyone imaginative or sussed enough musically should want this record is that they are, by far, the most inventive UK band to have got their hands caught in the Industrial threshing machine. They never do the obvious and the worldview makes sense, in setting scenes like shadowy directors and treating us as players. They also admit to making sense in the Goth world, because of the thoughts flying around in their work. It’s obvious what they’re against, and the sounds fit this worldview with thorny elements, but by holding off on harsher implements they create something you want to keep picking at, to peel away the layers, which is probably half the point, and half the attraction.
They gonna fuck with you long time.
FLASHES OF LIGHT PT 1