Chart the personnel history of L.A. Guns and you’ll need to bring out a board, pins and some string like those American crime dramas. It involves two bands under the same moniker and for a brief moment, a vocalist who now sings about gloryholes. However, take a look at the artwork before you start listening.
Exactly. It looks almost like the self-titled debut. And if you’re still baffled, let me make it clear: Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis are back together in one L.A. Guns. That not-so-subtle artwork is also a sly nod to how it sounds. It’s like those first three albums with modern production.
Really, this is the album which should have followed Hollywood Vampires. But we got there in the end. It’s a good album, especially in an era where bands half their age are trying to re-capture that sound. L.A. Guns have come at the right time to show the newbies how it should be done. It’s obvious that in trying to recapture a bygone time in their career, L.A. Guns have succeeded in doing so. But it’s also where the album has its only niggle and feels at odds with itself.
It’s 80s hair metal with modern production, offering nothing L.A. Guns themselves haven’t done in the past. The only difference being this time, the album is on par with their early works. They’re trying to capture the lightning in a bottle that was the first few albums but it’s marred by the fact they’re not fuelled by youthful ambition, instead, trying to re-live their glory days.
That said, the band are sticking to what they do best and aren’t trying to create a modern sound. “Christine” and “The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain” are up there with the rest of the big ballads this sound granted us. Meanwhile, they still know how to create hard-hitting numbers in the form of “Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight”, “Speed” and the bass-heavy “A Drop of Bleach”. Then there’s the blistering guitar solo from Tracii Guns on the title track, and “Baby Gotta Fever” sounds like it could have been on that self-titled debut.
Chances are, if you didn’t like L.A. Guns originally, you’re not going to like this. If you want something in the vein of those first few albums, you’re going to have an excellent time with The Missing Peace. It’s of that quality and that era. But it’s also the reunited force of Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis creating something akin to the band’s heyday where it becomes dated because so many bands have been inspired by them in the past that it actually sounds like a band taking inspiration from them.
The Missing Peace is released on 13th October