Music Review: Guns for San Sebastian

Guns for San Sebastian

Self-Titled Debut Album (2009)


Reviewed by Courtney McCaffrey

Up-and-coming rock band Guns for San Sebastian seeks to shake up the music scene outside of its native San Francisco Bay area with a recently released self-titled debut album.  Released on February 28, 2009, the album meshes powerful vocals with pleasant melodies and guitar solos mimicking Tom Morello and Jimmy Page.  Most simply stated, the vocals and melodies presented in this album are a satisfying fusion of The Black Crowes and The Black Keys.

Guns for San Sebastian presents a refreshing and diverse sound to a generation of listeners smothered by teenage pop stars and synthesized voices. The album predominantly fits in the blues-rock genre, but sounds are drawn from a variety of artists and locales.  “Almighty Dollar,” the first song on the album, combines country-western influences and tones with an American blues-roots feel.  The band unites genres throughout the album, merging modern rock with blues, roots and indie rock inspiration.   “Our Own Way,” listed as track 7 on the debut album, demonstrates characteristic indie rock influences with vocals similar to Kings of Leon or The Strokes and guitar styles reminiscent of 1950s rock.    

Lead singer Charlie Marvin’s solid vocals combined with fluent chord progressions from the strings are obvious elements contributing to the band’s success, but it’s the distinct addition of JJ White’s whaling harmonica that sets the band apart from and possibly above its indie rock counterparts. Listening to Guns for San Sebastian’s debut album leaves its listeners thankful that this new-age rock band hasn’t forgotten its roots in the blues.