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L.A. GUNS Checkered Past

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Tuesday, December 21, 2021 @ 10:09 AM


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L.A. GUNS
Checkered Past

Frontiers Music Srl - 2021




While I was only a casual fan of L.A. GUNS when the band started out in the 1980's, ever since singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reunited a few years back, the band has been turning out some quite excellent music. So when the Checkered Past album was announced, I knew I wanted to hear it. And I have to say that I wasn't disappointed in the least.

The album opens with a spitfire rocker called "Cannonball". The song bursts out of your speakers and immediately makes a mark on the listener with a raw rocking energy that continues unabated throughout the entire song.

There's a grittiness to the album of course, but I liked how the band mixed things up a bit on the disc. The song "Bad Luck Charm" has a rhythmic swing to it that I enjoyed. When the band slows things down a bit, you get songs like "Get Along" which features a midtempo groove that while a bit lighter in its delivery isn't what you would call soft. The song has a pretty cool vibe to it. "If It's Over Now" is pretty slow paced but it has a nice solo in the song.

The surprisingly intriguing song for me was "Let You Down". The intro has a kind of ominous feel to it and the song moves along at a slow pacing that helps create an atmospheric mood. There are brief periods where the music gets amped up for a bit more intensity but the song mainly stays the musical course and I thought it was quite a performance from the band.

But of course, I really enjoy when L.A. GUNS rocks out hard and heavy the best. "Knock Me Down" does that in spades as well as feeling like it is a song that in a live setting would find the band exhorting the audience to clap along. I liked the rhythm to the music of "Better Than You" too.

The opening of the album's closing track "Physical Itch" rocks a bit but the main body of the song features a more methodical stomp pacing.

Besides "Cannonball", I'd say other highlights on Checkered Past for me were "That Ain't Why" (a straight attitude kind of rocker) and "Living Right Now" (the song really struck a chord with me and features Ace Von Johnson playing lead on the track). One other highlight that I have to point out is the song "Dog". There's so much menacing rock and roll to this lights out rocker that you barely catch your breath for the length of the song. And man did I love the vocal performance from Phil Lewis on the song as well.

L.A. GUNS has had quite the crazy history between breakups, lineup changes, a messy lawsuit and whatever else I don't need to go into. But with Checkered Past, the rekindled Phil Lewis-Tracii Guns partnership continues to chart a musically incredible present and future for the band.

4.8 Out Of 5.0


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