Despite a lot of utter musical tripe in the ’80s (New Romantic bands, synthesizer-based pop music), it was actually an exciting time for rock and metal fans in the UK and US. After the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal had spawned the likes of Iron Maiden, there was the thrash and speed metal scene from San Francisco that began to literally turn heads, while in parallel, ‘hair-metal’ got people gyrating to the sounds of Hollywood.
Although the grunge era of the early ’90s pretty much killed hair-metal, Guns ‘N Roses spin-off Velvet Revolver managed to become huge in 2004, while the other most notorious band of the time, Motley Crüe reformed and got themselves back on the road this year.
Despite this, a new album by LA Guns hardly seems relevant – and that is coming from someone who remembers them first time around. The line-up changes in recent years don’t exactly help, with the band now being held together by vocalist Phil Lewis after founding member Tracii Guns left for the Brides Of Destruction.
To be fair, Tales From The Strip is not a bad album, but then again it is nothing imaginative. As the titles suggests it is a tribute, of a sort, to the infamous sunset trip in Hollywood where bars like The Whisky A-Go-Go gave a kick-start to the careers of young, eager bands.
The album has a punk-ish attitude and raw edge, which made some of the better LA bands (such as Guns ‘N’ Roses) stand out from the likes of Poison. Yet at 14 tracks long, it drags a little despite a promising, if mundane start by today’s heavier and faster standards.
There are no great riffs or choruses that scream for your attention here. Electric Neon Sunset moans too much and 6.9 Earthshaker doesn’t manage to live up to its name, particularly with a boring drum solo in the middle. And although Gypsy Soul sounds a bit like good, early Saxon, much of the rest is standard fare, really.
At the start of the second millenium, LA Guns are still rocking, yet it is a case of the same old s***t, just a different year. Although there are some solid rhythms and songwriting, Tales From The Strip will only appeal to those with their heads firmly stuck in the past.