CD Review

History of Guns – “Flashes of Light”

By Marcus Pan

Flashes of LightI’m not quite sure what to make of this CD. Either it’s really artsy or it’s just not quite good. Hard to say. Flashes of Light Part One, for example, opens with whispers and off-kilter yowls joined with bass-laden synthetic accompaniament. It doesn’t really go anywhere and kind of fuddles about a bit trying to be surreal but instead coming off a bit too high-brow and intellectually metamorphic. The bass and rhythm loop that comes in a bit later is interesting, and vocals gives me a feeling of groanily attempted cliché goth. It doesn’t really like to stay with the music and beat much, instead attempts to be poetic and comes off silly.

Flahes of Light Part One loses itself as it attempts experminetalism and becomes different songs in one. One of the latter songs that is part of this mish mash has a really interesting drum’n bass groove combined with a catchy melody that I swear I heard before but can’t place. This little section is a highlight to…well, the song really considering it keeps becoming other songs.

The interesting thing about History of Guns is they have an excellent command of rhythm and bass, paring them off swell and with aplomb. Drums tracks are a highlight to Flashes of Light, but the rest is just, well, unnecessary. I’d buy a CD of just drum tracks from these folks, surely.

Flahes of Light Part Two is similar in that it goes from experimental mush to experimental mush, interspersed with interesting rhythms and nice backing drums. Every now and then there’s a hint at a good track that loses itself as it wanders away “screaming” into territory that is better left alone unless your Nick Grey(1) or Thomas Park(2).

Going Hollow gets amateurish mostly, with predictable guitar strums and more, but the chorus and breakdown areas are quite nice with heavy rhythms and a techno-laden feel applied to the otherwise boorishly spoken word lyrics. Likewise I love the d’n’b of Pattern Death as well. The rest can go. Lyrics like “everything is nothing because nothing does exist” is right out of a teenager’s angst ridden weblog. The rest of Flashes of Light continues similarly – in that I really dig the rhythms and drum tracks and deplore the silly lyrics and spoken word pretention.

Methinks that History of Guns should stick to the drum ‘n bass schtick and leave the goth poetry and surrealism alone. It’s hard to pull that kind of thing off without getting either a) annoying or b) intellectually high-brow and therefore silly. The group pulls both of these off through the course of Flashes of Light. But their drums and bass rhythms are spot on.

Contact Information:
Liquid Len Records
Post: PO Box 165, Hertford, SG13 7ZN, UK
E-Mail: harry@liquidlen.co.uk
Web: www.liquidlen.co.uk
(1) I recently wrote up Nick’s estranged Les Eaux Territoriales so his brand of weirdness is stuck in my brain.
(2) Of Autocad13 and Mystified.