If you’re a jobbing Los Angeles musician who hasn’t yet managed to secure a spell in one of the many LA Guns line-up, you should probably pack it all in.
After a period of stability between the mid-80s and mid-90s when these West Coast sleaze-merchants gave us their most notable output, it’s been a revolving door of personnel.
Singer Phil Lewis has been around most of the time, but band founder Tracii Guns quit in 2002, and for a time there were two competing LA Guns line-ups simultaneously.
Now, though, Lewis and Guns have teamed up again for the first time in a decade and a half. It’s not the complete classic line-up but the two main men are back in the saddle, which leads to hopes that The Missing Peace will build on the band’s last-century heyday.
Certainly, opener ‘It’s All The Same to Me’ is a promising start, kicking things off in much the same way ‘Over The Edge’ did on ‘Hollywood Vampires’, and songs such as ‘Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight’ and ‘Speed’ are down and dirty rockers.
It doesn’t all work, though. Christine is their latest attempt to recapture the success of ‘The Ballad of Jayne’, but it’s not a patch on that 1989 hit and it’s insipid compared with the eerie and sleazy feel of Jayne.
‘Baby Gotta Fever‘ is a paint-by-numbers track that seems to do very little apart from repeat the three-word title ad nauseam while ‘The Flood’s The Fault of The Rain’ is a blatant reworking of ‘House of The Rising Sun’ and would have been better on either of the covers albums that Lewis put out.
But songs such as ‘A Drop of Bleach’ and ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ are built around their choruses – the latter sounding like the bastard child of Motley Crue’s Saints of Los Angeles – and it’s this sort of thing that we came for. The title track is good, too, with soaring vocals from Lewis.
Ultimately, things never stray far from the archetypal LA Guns sound. They haven’t tried to reinvent themselves but that’s no bad thing, as they stick to what they do best.
This lot never reached the heights that fellow LA outfits such as the Crue (let alone GN’R) did first time round, and this album was never likely to be a classic of the genre, but it’s good to have Lewis and Guns back together. This is a solid effort, and at least a handful of songs should fit well into their live set.