It’s quite common for bands to not make it to 12 albums but LA Guns must have never received that memo. LA Guns latest offering is a tour de force of rock’n’roll. ‘The Devil You Know’ opens with ‘Rage’ which is clearly a statement of intent on what Guns’ 12th long playing record is all about. The first few bars wouldn’t be out of place on a Ramones song, which is a clear indication of how they have used their influences on this record. It is a banger and my favourite track on the album. The second track ‘Stay away’ has a gallop that had my feet tapping away in seconds and singalong chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on the main stage of Castle Donington in 2019 or even Long Beach Arena in the 80s.
Track three ‘Loaded Bomb’ opens with a sort of bluesy swing hybrid riff that clearly demonstrates TG’s versatility as a guitarist. Phil delivers the vocals with a searing intensity that again displays how much of a vocal force to be reckoned with he is. The title track is clearly influenced by Black Sabbath but with LA Guns own inimitable style. It has a more rounded feel to it and I would expect to see the audience nodding their heads along to the beat.
‘Needle to the Bone’ is the fifth track and usually where an album starts to wane, but that is not the case. It is honest rock’n’roll with a modicum of sleaze. ‘Going High’ and ‘Gone Honey’ are the next two tracks and display a lot of the band’s musical diversity. The latter of the two has an indie feel.
‘Don’t Need To Win’ is another banger and what I think AC/DC might have sounded like if they had grown up on the sunset strip.
‘Down That Hole’ has a sound similar to UK band Blur but with a validity seldom seen In a hard rock band. It is another example of how LA Guns keep pushing themselves musically and taking us along for the ride. ‘Another Season in Hell’ is the tenth track off the album and the longest coming in at 6 minutes 22 seconds. It could be described as a ballad, but doesn’t come across whiny, which is far too common in so many rock ballads. It is honest, appropriate and sits in the perfect place on the album. Add to this another cracking TG solo and you get all the components of a monster hit. If you have never heard LA Guns this would be an excellent place to start. The album closes with the bonus track ‘Boom’ and it does. Squealing guitars, a sing/shout along chorus and a really catchy melody if this doesn’t get you moving you may be already dead.
What I found really interesting about this album is that I loved it from the very first listen, usually it takes me one or two listens to really get into an album.
Too many bands get to the ‘several album’ mark and write a pretentious ‘rock by numbers’ album, fortunately for us that is not the case with LA Guns. The apparent constant touring schedule has created a cohesiveness within the band that has transposed perfectly on to the album. This could quite possibly be the best release of 2019.
‘The Devil You Know’ is out now via Frontiers Music.