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Militarie Gun’s melodic influences emerge on Life Under The Gun

"Life Under The Gun"

Release date: 23 June 2023
Militarie Gun - Life Under The Gun cover
20 June 2023, 09:00 Written by Greg Hyde

Following the runaway success of Turnstile, there has been a growing degree of interest in bands combining the power and energy of hardcore punk with the melodic, earworm qualities of alternative rock

Santa Cruz’s Scowl signalled an intent to tread this path with their recent Psychic Dance Routine EP. England’s own High Vis are having some success in embracing it. And now, LA post-hardcore quintet Militarie Gun are the latest band to espouse this fusion of complementary musical styles with their full-length debut album, Life Under The Gun.

The band evolved out of the songwriting lead vocalist Ian Shelton completed when his previous hardcore band – Regional Justice Center – had to abandon touring due to COVID-19. Militarie Gun released several EP's in 2020 and 2021, which were later compiled on the hugely enjoyable All Roads Lead to The Gun collection.

The album opens well with “Do It Faster”, a song containing riffs from guitarists Nick Cogan and William Acuña that are simultaneously chiming and chunky. This jangly but muscular playing style continues through “My Friends Are Having a Hard Time”, a song on which Shelton’s vocal style takes on a particularly affecting quality as he sings plaintively, “I cried all the time / Now it happens / Now it happens in mine / Wondering when I’ll be just fine.” The guitar work is especially solid on the great “Think Less”, a song on which you can hear the experience Cogan has accrued in post-hardcore greats Drug Church. However, this tightness is lost on the softer “Return Policy”, “Seizure of Assets”, and “Never Fucked Up Once”, which follow. The solid riffs of Life Under The Gun’s first side eventually return on “Sway Too” and the closing title track.

Militarie Gun’s aim of fusing the melodies and jangly guitar sounds of Shelton’s songwriting influences like Guided By Voices and The Beatles with the punchiness and energy of the hardcore punk scene in which they honed their playing styles is an admirable and interesting one. On their debut full-length, they mostly accomplish it. Some of the tracks on the second side are full of melody, but somewhat lacking in energy. However, there are enough riff-laden songs here that sound alternately like Cloud Nothings and Gorilla Biscuits’ catchier material to keep the record listenable and fun. Life Under The Gun is a flawed but enjoyable debut album.

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