L.A. Guns has a history in the shadow of, well, the OTHER Guns. The self-titled debut was a vicious piece of sleaze, as much influenced by punk as by metal. With quick and nasty little songs like “No Mercy” and “Sex Action” it set up LA Guns as one of the best also-rans in the overcrowded sleaze scene. Then basically nothing happened, the follow-up COCKED & LOADED lacked the primal energy of the debut and the scene itself collapsed anyway.
With guitarist and founder Tracii Guns gone to Brides of Destruction it looked like there would never be another L.A. Guns album. Last yearìs cover album really had the feeling of a thank-you-and-goodbye record. But singer Phil Lewis has rallied the troops nevertheless. Stacey Blades (ex-Roxx Gang) has taken over the vacant guitar spot. His playing is actually one of
the highlights of the album, with touches of genre anti-heroes like Johnny Thunders and Andy McCoy. Stacey manages to be both bluesy and slightly dirty, though he lacks some of the aggression of his predecessor.
Phil Lewisìs voice, always one of the bandìs best points, is also up to par with its rough and soulful sound. But thatìs where the fun ends. The song material is woefully average and suffers from a complete lack of attitude. Basically this is the same problem that the band has had ever since their second album, they just canìt get that punky feeling back in the music.
With too clear production and everything stuck in mid-tempo (at best), itìs COCKED & LOADED all over again.
14 tales of unhappy love, debauchery and Hollywood romanticism is a lot for anyone to take, but when coupled with unmemorable riffs and bland choruses it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And not the kind you get from a hangover, but the kind you get after you realize that thereìs just iced tea in the Jack bottle.
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