Gun

Gunsight

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Following up the U.K. Top Ten success achieved by 1968 smash single "Race with the Devil" was never going to be an easy feat for Gun (when is it easy for any band?), but the sophomore slump experienced by the power trio's second LP, Gunsight, in 1969, still felt almost too predictable. Not unlike its preceding long-player, Gunsight invested in a broad variety of musical styles, easily dismissing any posthumous attempt to confine Gun to a psych-infused, proto-metal box, but as well as lacking that all important mega-hit to quell all troubles, the album's aggressive sonic experimentation arguably crossed the line from "daring" to just plain "unfocused." Not that you can blame them for trying. Lest one forget, even "Race with the Devil"'s hard rock heart had come wrapped in gusts of mariachi horns, and though the same applied to many of its fellow album tracks too (along with string sections, choirs, etc.), those embellishments were largely forsaken this second time around. Instead, Gunsight's still eclectic but more stripped-down songs wandered off into everything from country blues ("Drown Yourself in the River") to blissful California dreamin' ("Hobo") and spaghetti Western-meets-Spanish guitar (the two-part "Lady Link"). Perhaps more telling still, the brothers Gurvitz (Paul, guitar; Adrian, bass) and drummer Louie Farrell occasionally seemed blithely bemused with, or outright disapproving of, the tuned-in, turned-on, dropped-out flower-power generation they purportedly were part of -- as suggested, respectively, by the Who/Kinks doppelgänger "Long Hair Wildman" and tepid MOR disaster "Angeline" (where the singer speaks for the concerned old man of a missing acid casualty). And what straight-ahead psych rockers the trio did conjure up for Gunsight would, in the short term, fail to stand out amid the increasingly competitive heavy rock landscape (though latter-day cult enthusiasts would appreciate them to no end): not the meandering psychedelics of "Head in the Clouds," not the MC5-like punch of "Dreams and Screams," not the foreboding, presciently punk-themed "Situation Vacant." In sum and any way you sliced it, Gun as a name brand was clearly spent once Gunsight flopped in record stores, so no one can blame the Gurvitz brothers for starting from scratch as Three Man Army in upcoming years.

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