Ok, so Gandhi, as far as I’m aware, was a pacifist so his need for a gun(n) would be minimal…or non existent. Somehow, though, Gandhi’s Gunn is a pretty apt name…they lull you into a false sense of security with their smoked out stoner grooves yet cause untold physical damage with the sheer weight of their bass driven barrage.
Hailing from Italy and claiming influence from the “first wave” of stoner bands such as Fu Manchu, C.O.C and Clutch, Gandhi’s Gunn certainly pick up the baton and run with it. Given that their biography does blatantly refer to their influences it would be all too easy, not to mention downright lazy, to write them off as copyists and draw similarities but this isn’t the whole story.
As much as there is a heavy stoner influence to the Gandhi’s Gunn sound there is a little more to them than meets the eye. A fine example of this is opening track “Overhanging Rock” which blends their more obvious stoner tendencies with a bass heavy clanging sound that is reminiscent of the Amphetamine Reptile bands of the 90’s such as The Jesus Lizard. This is helped by the fact that guitarist Scazzi doesn’t go for the obvious option of a million megawatts of fuzz pedal abuse and opts for a much cleaner tone that gives the overall sound far greater punch and texture. Similarly the vocals of Hobo straddle the gruff, Wino inspired blues howl of so many of his stoner contemporaries with a cleaner less precise style, again not too dissimilar from the post punk sounds of the American underground from the 90’s.
This isn’t to say that the band are too many steps away from allowing their feet to sink into the desert sand. “Man Of Wisdom” borrows from Kyuss’s galloping grooves and “23 Bodies” is a nice straight up rocker with a simple yet effective riff…all underpinned by the gut yanking bass of Maso. “Club Silencio” features a massive groove and neat twangy riff from Scazzi interspersed with some effective cleaner moments but doesn’t quite hit the same spot as some of the previous songs highlighting the band’s more stoner tendencies and the limitations that come with the genre. Not a bad song by any means but nothing we haven’t heard many times before.
On the other hand, a song like “Lee Van Cleef” is where the band excels. A rolling retrained verse is peppered with spacey, spaghetti western style guitar before exploding into a chunkadelic riff that, oddly sounds like it wouldn’t have been out of place on the “Arise” album by Amebix!!! A tasty slide solo kicks a little sand in our faces for good measure.
Gandhi’s Gunn certainly put their money where their mouths are with this release which is out on their own Taxi Driver imprint and a quick trawl of the internet will see that the band are getting their name out and starting to make some waves. Italy certainly has its fair share of decent retro stoner bands and on the strength of this album there’s no reason why Gandhi’s Gunn shouldn’t be sitting pretty atop the pile. It’s not perfect, but then rock and roll isn’t meant to be.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall