L.A. Guns – The Devil You Know (Frontiers)
Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis were born to be in a band together. And if petty squabbling kept the pair apart for too many years then the second of the duo’s ‘comeback’ albums reinforces the view that a reunion was long overdue.
2017’s The Missing Peace was all about feeling their way back as a potent creative partnership but the gloves are off with The Devil You Know. Yet another canny album title perfectly hits the mark – this is vintage L.A. Guns with a familiar fusion of commercial rock and sleaze metal direct from the Sunset Strip’s hedonistic late 80s heyday.
There’s a Love/Hate vibe underpinning the low down and dirty Loaded Bomb with Lewis’s sneering tone perfectly complementing Guns’ heavy blues riffs and the keenly mixed honky tonk keys. And the terrific title track – one of the heaviest here – allows the original Guns ‘N Roses axeman the opportunity to run through the full range of his fret burning talents.
Live, the reformed line-up looks and sounds like an act making up for lost time and it’s reassuring to know that urgency and attitude has been captured on a record that never lets up.
Rival Sons fans will find much to love about Going High as Guns borrows Scott Holiday’s trademark tone to cut through a Zeppelin-esque masterclass in heavy blues. And whisper it quietly but there’s even a hint of Oasis about the dreamy Gone Honey.
But Lewis and Guns save the best until last: Another Season In Hell is more than six minutes of Tesla-esque emotion and evidence of a band that still has such a key role to play in the revival of good, honest rock and roll.