The album starts off with ‘The Darkest Shades of Gray’, an upbeat and cheerful piece reminiscent of 90’s Oasis combined with a synth/organ that would sound fitting in a 80’s sitcom. ‘Solomon’s War’ was next up on the track listing. This is one of my favorite songs from this album, as it makes excellent use of a slide guitar, as well as utilizing strings to provide a peaceful and tranquil effect to the song. ‘The Gift of Regret’ has guitar-work definitely comparable to Arctic Monkeys, especially the song “Fluorescent Adolescent”, released 6 years prior to Gatling Gun Revival. As the song progresses, it speeds up, and finally ends with layered vocals by the bands’ vocalist and guitarist, Corey Tam.
‘Cauldron of Doubt’ is the fourth track on Gatling Gun Revival, and it utilizes harmonicas, strings, and other instruments to craft a lovely acoustic-folk piece. ‘Snow Angel’, fifth on the tracklist, emphasizes guitars more-so than other songs on this album, as well as a electronic drum machine from the first chorus. This song also marks a departure form their usual folk style into a more pop style, as heard evidently in the chorus and last part of the song, where Tam utilizes a pop vocals style. ‘At The End of The World’ starts off lush and green, with harmonicas, guitars, and ukuleles fighting for your attention above the rhythm section. The upbeat and happy ukulele riff repeated many times over was crafted by Erik Piece, the bands’ rhythm guitarist. Tam shares the role of vocals with Sherin Siew, whom was featured in ‘Solomon’s War’ as well.
The album’s seventh track, ‘Byzantine Hearts’, makes use of an acoustic riff – which was repeated until the halfway mark where the song explodes into an alt-rock piece which places focus on a slide overdriven guitar. The song then returns to the original chord progression for the chorus, and not long after, returns to the slide guitar solo. This song was my favourite during their 6-song live performance at Freespace HK @ Taikoo Place this past Saturday. ‘Bittersweet Nothingness’ was performed at Freespace HK as well – quite the experience to see GGR live, I’d say! This track features a blues guitar riff for the most part of the song. However, the title for this track quite contradicts the instrumentals.
The album’s’ final track, ‘Nothing Left to Lose’ features Heidi Mak on vocals, and starts off with a simple drum beat. A ukulele, guitar, and bass then joins in on this upbeat track. A promising guitar solo, played by Corey, was introduced in the break of the song. A choir, similar to ones you hear in gospel churches, joins the band in the latter third of the song, giving this album a remarkable ending.
Overall, this album captures the average citizen living in a crowded city’s thoughts on love, relationships, and other topics. The Gatling Gun Revival really is a diamond in the rough of over-produced, bland pop music. Their music might not be everyone, but if you enjoy some good, down-to-earth, and quality music, be sure to check them out and take a listen on Spotify (link)! If you like it, make sure to support them by buying their album on Bandcamp (link)!
The Gatling Gun Revival consists of lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Corey Tam, percussionist and vocalist Zane Stroud, and guitarist and vocalist Erik Piece. They released one full length album back in 2013 and a single this past July.
Full link to the album on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/10cTylqKQ1LYN6VIkWDjpk
Full link to the album on Bandcamp: https://gatlinggunrevival.bandcamp.com/album/the-gatling-gun-revival