21 Guns – Salute
Rock Candy Records
The thing that this band is most remembered for is that is they were the early 1990’s band that contained Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham. That makes it memorable. That makes it collectable. That makes it interesting. It does not, however, make it a great album.
The guitar playing on tunes like “Knee Deep” and “Jungleland” is solid. There is nothing wrong with a balls-to-the-wall-to-guitar-to-amplifier approach as heard on songs like “These Eyes” and “Battered and Bruised.” Nope, it’s an okay album, start to finish.
What is wrong with the album is not the look, the presentation, the songwriting or the production. What is wrong is that this is an album that saw a talented guy forsaking his natural abilities and trying to fit in somewhere he didn’t belong…and his timing was even off as he went for a sound that was being phased out at radio.
But…who can blame the guy? Hell, he had to make a living. At least he didn’t follow trends and go Grunge…that would have been a disaster. Instead he tried to fit into the Hair Band era that Grunge had just destroyed.
While this one will never even be close to living in the shadow of the Thin Lizzy classic Jailbreak, it does have some relevance and historical significance.
What may be a tad confusing is that by not jumping on the Grunge bandwagon, Gorham and band were made fun of by the media and called a dated band.
Their choices were to rock like the late ‘80’s or wear jeans and t-shirts and play depressed music. There was one other option they could have done and that is to stick to their guns [pun intended] and be who they really were deep inside.
You can hear the Lizzy influence in there but it seems as if attempts were made to distance oneself from that sound for this album. Maybe not. Maybe Scott totally believed in what he was doing and I am so wrong it is pathetic. Maybe. Either way, this one, while kinda cool, and kinda rocking, is not an album that stands the test of time very well.
That said, it ain’t all bad. Perhaps this one is best described as a solid effort that just, for whatever reason, didn’t quite live up to expectations...although, I kinda like it for some odd reason.
It is just one of those albums that ya gotta experience and make your own call.
And then, a year or two later, dig it back out and do it all over again and change your mind on it. That, in and of itself, is pretty cool. So what the hell, check this one out again…Why not?
By Jeb Wright
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