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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Gorgeous Got a Gun

Gorgeous Got a Gun

Review by Rick Damigella

True story - a band I’d never heard of began following me on Twitter a couple months back. It was a band from Los Angeles called Gorgeous Got a Gun. “Very cool name,” I thought, so I checked out their web site to see what they sounded like. I was, to put it bluntly, blown away by what I heard. I can honestly say each of the songs streaming on their site hooked me instantly.

Soon after, the band started tweeting about pre-orders for their debut album. I ordered one and when it arrived the first listen was magical. Here was a band I knew absolutely nothing about. No record company PR person had pitched them to me. I was listening to their sonic creativity explode from my speakers simply because somewhere in LA, one of the members made one simple mouse click to follow a music fan on Twitter. This connection proves social networking is more than just posting links, tweeting hashtags or commenting about how awesome/mundane your meal was. In this day and age, it is a powerful tool to reach new fans, even if it is one fan at a time.

Gorgeous Got a Gun’s sound is fresh and original, filled with a vibrant energy, a bit of angst and a remarkable amount of fun. For a debut release, it is pristinely recorded and very fully realized on a performance level. You don’t often hear this kind of quality from a first outing. Without sticking a genre epithet on them, let’s just call it 21st century rock and roll. The first of my three favorite things about GGG is how they masterfully blend guitar riffs with keyboard lines to create their sound. The second is Veronica Torres’ vocal style; confident, powerful and real. The third is their incredible choruses. I will touch on them in the song-by-song section. And while I could say a few buzz words or tell you that if you like bands A, B or C then you will like Gorgeous Got a Gun, that is hardly a fair way to convince you how great they sound. You should experience Gorgeous Got a Gun first hand. You might just find yourself as caught up in their sound as I am.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Slide
The album kicks off with a high energy song that perfectly sets up Gorgeous Got a Gun's sound. The balance between synth, guitar, and bass is ideal, letting each instrument shine through the mix as opposed to being crushed together. Veronica Torres establishes her vocal and songwriting abilities, which is just a taste of what is to come throughout the album.
Violent Games

I’ve said it before in reviews that I am a sucker for the proper mixture of synths and guitars in music. GGG hits the sweet spot of that mix with this song. Torres’ voice pulls you in as she emotes “you’re not beautiful when you hate me” with declarative urgency in the chorus while bassist Jimi Blaze holds the whole thing together with his killer four-string rhythms. This is easily my second favorite song of the album.

Jump Ship

Just the right amount of twang on the guitar strings sets up the next song, which continues the near break neck pace of the album. To call GGG a high energy rock band is almost an understatement. There is no shoe gazing happening here. I challenge you not to dance or bop your head as you listen.

Confined

Dual chiming and chugging guitar riffs, punctuated with short disco percussion noise fills, make this another great example of the band’s use of synths and electronica adding to their overall rock sound.

Walk Away

Here is my favorite song on the album. Scratchy noise and piano open this number which quickly transitions to the clever use of putting the chorus at the very start of the song. This is another high energy number, but between the choruses, the band pulls back slightly and lets Torres purr the lyrics a bit more subtly. The infectious chorus is what this song is all about though. When it kicks in, Torres belts out “walk, walk, walk away” as one guitar matches her tone and phrasing in a harmonizing fashion. This is exactly the kind of song you want stuck in your head for no reason.

Noise Machine

Blending mid-tempo sections with a pounding chorus, this song features some excellent bass lines and hand clap percussion and yet another chorus that should have live audiences singing right along.

Get in Line

The band finally takes a bit of a breather and slows things down into a sensual, bluesy vibe. Ron Evans adds some great harmonica while Chris J. Evans’ six-string wails imploringly like the estranged lover in the lyrics. The chorus has the familiar “pull you in” delivery and sonic palette of the previous numbers, just much more moody.

Caught Up

And we are right back with the rock! It’s at this point in the album that you realize just how solid a song writing team Torres and Evans are. Song after song they masterfully build unique choruses that compliment each song and stick with you in such a good way.

Wanted Me

A dreamy blend of guitars and synths make up the back bone of this mid-tempo song. Veronica Torres delivers her vocals with finesse, especially in the plaintive lyrics of the chorus.

Message to Myself

This cut overall has a much darker feeling, from the guitar and keyboard tones and especially in the discordant strings, which add an eerie sonic texture.

Bang!

In a similar vein as “Get in Line,” this slower, brooding and features melancholy harmonica. Once again though, the number comes to life in the chorus, this time featuring multi-tracked vocals singing lyrical lines that are at one moment competing with each other and by the end of the line have joined to become one.

Lift Yourself

The fast paced guitars are back and drummer Nick Hoffman sneaks in some fun and unexpected fills. I’m not sure if that’s a flanger Chris Evans throws on his guitar at one point, but it sounds extremely cool.

Better Days
This one feels more stripped down as there are no (or at least no obvious) synths to be heard. Now if you have read this far (and I sincerely hope you have!) then you are intrigued enough to check out Gorgeous Got a Gun for yourself. Listen to some of the samples on their website or better yet order yourself a copy of this excellent album. If you are lucky enough to have them play live near you, I encourage you to see them as well. While I have not yet seen them play live, based on what a great listen this album is, I have to believe their live performance will be just as good.
 
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