CD Review of The New Gun by Mardo

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The New Gun
starstarstarstarhalf star Label: House of Restitution Records
Released: 2006
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The talent gods were disgustingly generous to the brothers Mardo. Aron plays bass, keyboards and sings while Robert plays drums, guitars and provides backup and harmony vocals. Aron also draws and designs the artwork behind Mardo. Recently, while trapped in a hotel room while on tour, he decorated the guitar of King’s X axeman Ty Tabor, customizing it with an amazing design. Musically, they have melded glam, hard rock and bar boogie in an intriguing and distinctive way. You can feel the sweat and body heat generated from a crowded small venue as this album plays.

The New Gun reminds me of early Queen records. They don’t sound like Queen but carry the same dichotomy of Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, in that they have a raw, thick guitar sound, a driving bottom end and lots of harmony and layered vocals. The similarity doesn’t end there. Queen records usually explore various ends of the rock song spectrum: you have ballads, harder rock, a few danceable tunes and many shades in between. The New Gun rocks hard on “Lolita Live & Learn” and “Thin White Line.” Some tasty bass funks it up on “Killer on the Dance Floor” and a very cool cover of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and their sensitive side is exposed on cuts like “The Healing” and “Just Remember.” You can hear just a bit of Billy Squier and Bon Scott in some of Aron’s singing, but he has more range and is much more refined.

This record is every bit as good as Jet’s breakout record from 2003, Get Born. Both bands have that rock & roll moxie that has been missing from what is being produced today. The brothers Mardo have that swagger, which translates into the music they make. This is not an album where the suits are dictating what the sound should be; the sound is the artistic vision of Aron and Robert, and what a good vision it is.

~R. David Smola