L.A. GUNS — The Devil You Know (review)

L.A. GUNS — The Devil You Know album cover Album · 2019 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Given there have been a few different versions of this band treading the bands, and even now there are two in existence, it can be somewhat difficult to understand which one is the real deal. To me, and to many other fans it has to be said, whatever version contains guitarist Tracii Guns is the one that matters. And if that version also contains the one and only Philip Lewis, then that is the one to go for. Lewis and Guns have fallen out more than once during their long relationship, which stretches all the way back to 1987, but when they are together there is no doubting the chemistry. I first came across Lewis when I purchased Girl’s second single “Hollywood Tease” back in 1980. I was curious to see what a British band would do with the Kiss classic, and they made it their very own. After the success of their superb debut album ‘Sheer Greed’ I was somewhat surprised they imploded but given that Collen went on to Def Leppard and Lewis eventually to L.A Guns it was obviously a good training ground.

Whenever Lewis is at the microphone, he somehow embodies sleaze, and sneers through the vocals, and when he has Guns next to him then both of them hit pure form. There is no doubt that in the 30+ years since they first met, their finest moments have been when they are together. The rest of the line-up is Johnny Martin (bass), Scot Coogan (drums) and Ace Von Johnson (guitar), but none of them have been there for more than three years in a band whose history can be traced all the way back to 1983 (of course there was a small detour into some outfit called Guns ‘s’ Roses). This is the Lewis and Guns show, and they are showing now sign at all of slowing down. Lewis screams with power and swagger as if he is still in twenties pouting “Let me be rude, do you mind if I'm crude, I'll insult all of your friends” while Guns has turned it up, and shows whatever Lewis can do on his part of the stage he is going to do his very best to show who is the owner of the name.

L.A. Guns are back with a huge bang, and this album deserves very close attention indeed. It rocks, it rolls, and it belts it out. This is the real deal, the Eighties L.A. scene which brought us bands like Faster Pussycat, has been brought back to life in a relevant and fun manner. This album just makes me smile.
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