Flavour Country by Shooting GunsRelease date: August 11, 2017
Label: RidingEasy Records
Following on from their foray into film soundtrack work with WolfCop, Saskatoon band Shooting Guns return with new album Flavour Country, the follow up proper to previous album Brotherhood Of The Ram. It’s a welcome release from a band who, whilst they may have a limited palette in terms of music, with each instrumental tied to its own strictures of lysergic space rock, nevertheless always sound essential.
Having taken some more exploratory turns with WolfCop, an album that sat on a bedrock of loud riffs, yet also found time to sink into weird synth moments, it seems this has developed into a more spaced out style for Flavour Country. Counteracting that is some of the heaviest riffs they have created yet and there is a great sense of freedom and fun about the whole shebang.
Loud is the word from the off with opening two tracks hitting you like a freight train at a hundred miles an hour. Having taken their name from the sound a train makes when it goes off a buffalo jump, they now seem to have taken that sound and turned it into an incessant attack on your senses. Doused in heady psychedelia and threatening to rip your face off, ‘Ride Free’ pretty much becomes a metaphor for life lived on the edge. It’s thrilling, loud, and you never want it to stop.
Thankfully Shooting Guns are no one trick pony and whilst they may deal heavily in repetition, it is on tracks like ‘Beltwhipper Snakecharmer’ that they pull out a sultry sound that snakes its way into your sinews. Its pulsating groove leads the band ever down a dub route before they pull it back with some more heavy riffing. ‘Vampires Of Industry’ repeats this trick albeit in a much more subdued way as we reach a dark heart of the album.
The amusing sample at the beginning of title track ‘Flavour Country’ may sound like some slacker stoner but behind the facade lies a message of anti-corporatism that should strike a message with anyone who has trudged through a 9-5 office existence. Try listening to this track as you leave work, and as the powerful riff slams down, you simply feel like tearing off the shackles and absolving yourself to a life of freedom. The repetition conjures up fierce images as it builds up into an almighty climax.
‘Black Leather Jacket’ almost feels like an anti-climax after this moment of impeccable power but its not without its charms. Its sub-Sabbath riff reminding us why we love this kind of music in the first place, and one can imagine that within the bands reputedly large record collections, there lies a perfect Black Sabbath collection, alongside all manner of other goodies. That those influences are played to perfection and made their own makes Shooting Guns one hell of an exciting band. Instrumental heavy psych bands are ten a penny these days, few are as vital as Shooting Guns.