L.A GUNS – Hollywood Forever

Deadline Music 2012

L.A Guns release their first original album in 7 years and not only will ‘Hollywood Forever’ go down as one of their best but the album also reminds me of why I liked the band in the first place. Production on the album has again been handled by Andy Johns (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin), who has worked on the bands last few releases, and he has perfectly captured the feel of the band in 14 tracks of punk edged sleaze.

The album’s title track ‘Hollywood Forever’ and ‘Burn’ sound like they should have been on the band’s 1995 ‘Vicious Circle’ album, whilst ‘Vine St Shimmy’ and ‘Dirty Black Night’ are laced with the sleaze and swagger of their first 2 albums. Vocalist Phil Lewis’ voice is still instantly recognisable and remains as strong as it did back in the late ‘80’s, combine this with the guitar work of Stacey Blades (who sounds like he has been in the band all along) and the solid rhythm section of bassist Scotty Griffin and long time drummer Steve Riley and the result is a real return to form.

‘Underneath the Sun’ is your typical L.A Guns ballad, whilst ‘Requiem (Hollywood Forever)’ is by no means a ballad but is a love song no less- albeit a dark one. ‘Venus Bomb’ features an appearance from original bassist Kelly Nickels and is a superb slice of raucous, dirty, sleaze drenched rock n roll, ‘I Won’t Play’ pretty much carries on that theme and ‘Queenie’ is The Rolling Stones meets early L.A Guns.

The ultimate highlights on the album however are ‘You Better Not Love Me’ and ‘Sweet Mystery’, tracks like these are everything a fan would want from the band, and the Spanish language ‘Arana Negra’ – with a ‘70’s glam rock feel to the drums, the song grinds along and the vocals almost have a menacing feel to them.

Around the release of the album comes the news that original guitarist, and band founder, Tracii Guns has retired his touring version of the band, which can only be good for L.A Guns – but to be honest, with an album this good who needs the original line-up? ‘Hollywood Forever’ is an album that actually makes me feel about 20 again, and with rumours of the band’s UK shows later this year being shelved, it’s a shame if this is true as I for one am really looking forward to hearing this new material live.

*****  

Nikk Gunns


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