Receiving this CD the first thing that struck me…25th Anniversary! Really, how did that happen? Back in 1989 when Glasgow rock band GUN released their debut album I was 14 years old and spending the majority of my time listening to INXS and Guns N Roses. At the time, I recall hearing the fantastic lead single ‘Better Days’ and thinking it was very Def Leppard sounding and it was some time later I found it GUN were indeed Scottish.
Lead single and opening track ‘Better Days’ is a belter of a track with catchy rock/pop guitar that was highly popular at the time and very much evident in chart music. With singer Mark Rankin singing about dreams and hopes the lyrics throughout the song act perhaps as a statement of intent suggesting this is a band that is prepared to fight to get to where they want to go! Ultimately the listener is left in no doubt of GUN’s street toughness as Rankin delivers the chorus “hold your head high… cause you know I’d die for better days”. ‘The Feeling Within’ and ‘Inside Out’ follow with hints of Simple Minds and influences of American ‘hair-rock’ highlighted. ‘Money (Everybody Loves Her)’ starts off with a tasty guitar intro accompanied by a drum-beat that sets the tone for the hypnotic echo-like chorus of “deep down everybody loves her” that fans will love to sing along to.
Title track ‘Taking On The World’ is more of a slow burner and with Rankin singing “I swear they will never break me…taking on the world” the story of a band rising up from the street (and taking on the world) is once again evident. Indeed, listening to the album now I can’t help but think some of these tracks would have sounded great in a Rocky type movie. ‘Shame On You’ for me is a real stonker of a track with the guitar and bass sounding terrific and complementing Rankin’s gritty vocal perfectly in what is one of my favourite album tracks. ‘Something to Believe In’ and ‘Girls in Love’ are also high-points before the album is closed-off with ‘I Will Be Waiting” where a young Sharleen Spiteri (of Texas fame) does a great job enhancing the track with her mesmerising backing vocal.
With 10 tracks including five singles and clocking in at just under 45 minutes, it is hard to find any real low points and GUN and their producer (Kenny McDonald) did a fantastic job in delivering Taking On The World an album many rock fans feel is one of the best debut rock albums by a Scottish group. Timing is everything and GUN perhaps arrived on the rock scene a little late to reach the heights their material arguably deserved. Now 25 years on and with three sell-out Glasgow gigs coming-up at King Tut’s and a Barrowland gig in early 2015 already announced perhaps the time for GUN is now!