L.A. Guns - 'Hollywood Forever'

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L.A. Guns - 'Hollywood Forever'

L.A. Guns sound like they lost their balls.

Being on the rock scene for over 25 years and split into two different bands since 2006, L. A. Guns led by Phil Lewis on vocals and Steve Riley on drums are releasing another album this June. The glam rockers from Los Angeles who started with the lead guitarist Tracii Guns in the 80s are predominantly famous for their first three releases – the self-titled debut, ‘Cocked & Loaded’ and ‘Hollywood Vampires’. When Tracii left the band in 2002 right before the tour to support the ‘Waking The Dead’ album, the band continued touring and making music.

With seven years since their last original, ‘Tales From The Strip’, and a lot of touring behind them, L. A. Guns needed to come up with something fresh and new. But the question arises here: is ‘Hollywood Forever’ really a fresh and new record? First hearing suggests that this is going to be just a copy of ‘Tales From The Strip’. Unfortunately, when listening further, it actually appears to be a weaker version. Songs are lacking catchy tunes, being replaced with rawer sound. This may not be a bad thing if this is your cup of tea though, but you won’t really hear anything as good as, say, ‘It Don’t Mean Nothing’, ‘Vampire’ or ‘Rox Baby Girl’.

There are however a few positive aspects here. It is no wonder that L. A. Guns chose the song ‘You Better Not Love Me’ as their first single. It’s probably the most energetic and melodic track on ‘Hollywood Forever’. Sadly, in the majority of the rest there’s shortage of these abilities. Other good songs that can catch your ear are ‘Sweet Mystery’ and ‘Underneath The Sun’, both not too fast or hard-rockin’ but pleasant and calming; ‘Burn’ that sounds somehow hypnotic and dreamy – you may get “lost in the stars”; and certainly ‘Queenie’ and ‘Venus Bomb’ - energetic and easy to move to with a hint of good old rock n’ roll riff here and there.

‘Hollywood Forever’ takes time to stick. It may take more than five listens to have some songs gradually grow on you. As much as I love Phil Lewis’ singing on the old records, somehow the vocal melodies are just not impressive on this one.

L. A. Guns sound like they lost their balls. The final version of ‘Hollywood Forever’ does indeed suggest that it was recorded and produced in haste. That is a shame because the band surely can do better. 14 songs with one bonus on the Japanese release should have pleased their fans. If only there had been more time taken to re-consider this amount and sound before entering the production stage.

Nage Drake

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