By Sam Graham
The name Servants of the Gun has a western-vibe to it and at first made me picture a supergroup with The Man with No Name on drums and Roland Deschain on everything else. Of course, the 21st century translates Servants of the Gun into a no-frills rock band, and that’s exactly what Servants of the Gun are.
At first glance, they’re a mesh of 90’s Britpop (for those of us who remember before it was repackaged as ‘indie’) and ballsy rock & roll, but other influences are clearly prominent in certain songs. Wont Shade My Soul has a definite 90’s Chilli Peppers sound to it and Good Good Glory has a sort of Muse vibe, stripped down and without that level of ‘the industry’ that Muse has. These facts give the band diversity and it stops the album from stagnating half way through.
Servants of the Gun make good use of the twin-guitars with a nice satisfying solo put in every time you think ‘if there was a solo next, it’d be cool’. The guitars never overpower the vocals, but Ben and Chris understand when they should take the limelight. A good example of this is on the last song: The Violins. Starts off nice and harmless then a scrape leads into a beefed up version of the intro; then just as you think the whole song will be like that, bam, back to calmer waters. I found drummer Phil’s drumming to be almost overpowering during the heavier sections. Conversely, the bass (which has Glenn at the helm) is fairly understated and is probably at its most prominent during Good Good Glory.
To juxtapose their underground style, Servants of the Gun have a fairly mainstream vocal sound (which especially comes across in My Hell, an equal parts rough around the edges R.E.M and Oasis). Lead vocalist Jason has a distinctive Lostprophets-esque vocal style, which was popular all throughout the early 00’s. While some of the harmonies aren’t in as much unison as they could have been, most of them are and they really work. It’s a hard thing to pull off, so if you’re reading this, guys, don’t feel bad about a couple misfires here and there. It’s a ballsy move for an unsigned band and I’d say you get kudos just for trying. The same thing, I’m afraid, goes for the extended vocal notes, but again, not focusing on the negative, while the vocals’ power may wane over long notes, Jason has enough umph to keep a constant framework throughout every song. There are times when Jason snarls his vocals which helps bring you into the moment. And on the bright side, he doesn’t try to be American like a certain number of UK bands did shortly after getting popular.
Servants of the Gun have a raw sound and you can tell the band enjoys playing what they play. It shines through on the whole album which, I might add, is surprisingly good quality for an unsigned act. It’s clear to see that they took their time over it and didn’t just rush to pump out something tangible like some bands have been known to.
All in all, I would definitely recommend Servants of the Gun if you like your rock and roll flashy with that little homespun and dirty touch. It’s like walking down the Sunset Strip, nomming on a chip-butty.
If they’re ever playing in your area, go see them. You won’t be disappointed.
Devil-Horn Rating (Out of five): \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/