Adrian and Paul Gurvitz might be better known for their travels with Ginger Baker in the Baker Gurvitz Army, but in the late '60s the brothers helmed the heavy rock trio Gun and caught a whiff of success in the U.K. with their debut single "Race with the Devil." Using the less-ethnic surname Curtis, Adrian (guitar) and Paul (bass) teamed up with drummer Louis Farrell and pounded out some distinctive psych-flavored proto-metal. Floating about in the mix along with the guitar pyrotechnics and drum workouts are brass and string sections that aren't always welcome, but "Race with the Devil" uses these potentially square instruments well, adding texture to an otherwise brutal stomp. "Yellow Cab Man" is the highlight of the set, a hard pop number with a buzzing guitar hook and frantic, heavily distorted soloing from Adrian. The obligatory freak-out comes with the finale, the 11-minute "Take Off" which begins with the sound of jet roar, then explodes into feedback, drum solos, backward guitars, and silly psychedelic exhortations to "take a deep breath and try to count to five." Elsewhere are half-baked orchestral interludes and some questionable songwriting chops, but the band is truly firing on all cylinders throughout and their interplay is solid like a fist. When Gun pours it on, the results are visceral and exciting enough to forgive the occasional wrong turn. The album artwork is impressively grotesque for the era, a flaming mass of squirming demons that wouldn't be out of place on a Slayer T-shirt today. There isn't any Satanism invoked in the grooves of Gun, but it's a lost gem for fans of the power trio format.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Beldin