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LA Guns Waking The Dead

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Tuesday, August 20, 2002 @ 0:05 AM


(Spitfire)

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Anyone who comes around looking for “Son of Electric Gypsy,” “Ballad Of Jayne #10” or “Sex Action II” is flat-out fucked. The new L.A. Guns CD looks like something you might see from Iced Earth, and, book-by-it’s-cover, Waking The Dead is not what you would have expected from L.A. Guns… it’s raw like the first album, it’s heavy, and a surprising kind-of-heavy like American Hardcore, or Vicious Circle, but it’s ballsy and grimy like, say, Shrinking Violet. I will just write it as I would tell you if we were drinking in a bar, “Dude… it’s rocks!!”

The first song is called, “Don’t Look At Me That Way,” and may very well sum up Tracii Guns’ feelings about being classified as anything but a GUITARIST, as well as someone who LOVES MUSIC. Clearly, Tracii has been listening to A LOT of Steve Harris.

“OK, Let’s Roll” might have easily been called, “OK, Let’s Rock!” before “9-11”; it is about Todd Beamer and the brave tragic souls who rushed the cockpit of Flight 93. A rocker for sure, and in the hands and mouth of Phil Lewis, it is also wistful and melancholy.

“Waking The Dead” is a head-banging screamer, fast and angry. “Revolution” is a great, catchy, radio-friendly song with some really subtle and nice understated guitar, and the chorus and leads remind me better stuff from The Alarm. Weird… and awesome. “The Ballad,” is what it is. Not as amazing or as pretty-sounding as their last entry into this category (I’m thinking of “Beautiful” from Man In The Moon), but nice. What saves it from being average is Mr. Lewis’ ability to be as gentle and soft as much as he can wail and keen like an Irish widow.

“Frequency” is cool, but like cool filler. The lead break is sorta Jimmy Page-y, and some of it smacks of Led Zep toward the end. Phil Lewis sounds like he’s bitching out an ex-girlfriend, and I dig that A LOT. “Psychopathic Eyes” is a gem, and could be a leftover from “Vicious Circle”: fast and sing-songy. “Hellraiser’s Ball” and “City Of Angels” should not be overlooked though -- they come near the end of the CD. Both are stand outs. Tracii’s playing sounds like it’s farther up the neck and more melody than riff-y. “Hellraiser’s Ball,” though it has a more-polished production, might have been at home on Shrinking Violet. “Don’t You Cry” is a good mid-tempo song, and if this was the ‘80s, this would have been “the third single”… (you know, 1st Single - Rocker, 2nd Single - Ballad, 3rd Single-Mid-tempo rock song).

Girls looking for weepy love-songs and guys looking to stay in the ‘80s are going to hate this, plain and simple. Rockers under 25 are going to be confused since there’s none of that by-the-numbers “drop-D” nonsense.

SO for those who have never heard this band:
* * * ½

For LAG fans:
* * * * *


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