L.A. Guns: Hollywood Forever

Unexpected bid for a star on the sidewalk of fame.

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That title may well be chiselled into Phil Lewis’s tombstone one day, but it also works now as a mission statement. The singer must know that his band means less since founder Tracii Guns left 10 years ago (and started touring with an alternative line-up), but with Tracii’s replacement Stacey Blades making his fourth studio outing (albeit only the second of new material), Lewis puckers up and soldiers on like an old tart.

Sometimes – as on the inglorious thrash of the title track, or the banal Queenie and Venus Bomb – it’s easy to point the finger and wonder why. But if you’ve still got a hankering for 80s-style hair metal, there’s plenty of bandana-clad fun to be had here.

Phil’s voice is as raw and aching as ever throughout, and sounds great on the Mockney-flavoured Eel Pie. The poppier You Better Not Love Me and Sweet Mystery would both have looked great on MTV once, and on the heavier Dirty Black Night, Lewis is hilariously spoiling for a fight (‘Say that you’re a legend but you wouldn’t last a second locked up in a room all alone with me’).

Following the shock realisation that the album contains some real gems, it closes with another surprise: a swaggering cover of a Bicicletas song called Araña Negra, sung in convincing Angelino Spanish. Olé amigos!

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.