Having seen Gin Annie play support slots a couple of times in 2018, it didn’t come as a shock that the last song of their live set also did the same job on their debut record.
“Born To Rock N Roll” does more than finish the album off here, though. Instead, I’d venture that it is the key to the band in general, and further, if they had a mission statement, it’d be this:
“From AC/DC to ZZ Top, from a sold -out concert to the record shop. This is who we are, this is what we do. Look at me mama, this one’s for you…..”
Those sentiments are all the way through the 10 songs that make up the Wolverhampton band’s debut. Not just in the last one either. But right from the get-go. “Love Ain’t Here” is the work of a five piece that believes in itself.
And, you can probably put that new-found confidence down to the arrivals last year of Brian Green on guitar and Phill ‘Hammer’ Burrows on bass. The pair have clearly enabled founder members Dave Foster (vocals) and Byron Garbett (guitars) to really fly. In that context “Dead And Gone” (“the old me is dead and gone, he’s never coming back”) might have plenty of meanings. Whatever, the two guitarists and the Southern Fried flavourings of the band ensure this one swaggers more than many debuts – and drummer Jack Ryland-Smith stomps up a real storm here too.
“Change” has hints of Zakk Wylde’s work about it. The riffs are big, thick and meaty and dipped in barbecue – that said, whatever the next couple are dipped in is unclear, but they can wash their own sheets, to be frank.
Yep, both “New Bad Habit” and the even sleazier “Next 2 Me” take Skid Row’s debut as a starting point and work from there. The choruses are huge and the intentions filthy, and yet both end up being highlights. Indeed, in the case of “….Me” it is innovatively done too – with time changes to tell the sordid story.
“Damage Is Done” is the sort of thing Massive do, and I was always going to mention Guns N Roses at some point, so I may as well do it here and it is impressive how much this record thumps. “Fallin’” crushes awful dullness masquerading as hard rock – let’s just stick the names Shinedown and Alter Bridge in here, shall we? – and shows them how it should be done, “All I Want” manages to sound as greasy as something off the first Almighty record (and praise don’t get bigger, trust me….).
“Haunt Me” is a reminder that growing up, all these type of records had a power ballad on. Not an “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” (the one we all loved, despite never admitting it….) but it does have a bit of when Corey Taylor does these with Stone Sour about it – and the solos throughout are superb. This one is particularly good.
All of which brings me back to the start and those lines from “…Rock N Roll”. The reason they are so important? Well, I’ll hazard a guess, they speak for all of us. All of us listening to it, probably, all of us reading this review – and certainly the person writing it. Music, to Gin Annie, to you, to me, is not something that gets you from point a to point b in your car or something that you should slavishly follow to be hip. It’s a way of life. And this, brothers and sisters, is your “100% Proof”.