LA Guns Tales From The Strip Shrapnel
Produced By: Andy Johns

Running Time: 57:50

Release Date: Out Now


Musical Style: Hard Rock

Links: Shrapnel Records
Songs: 86%
Sound: 70%
LA Guns' output in recent years has been mixed, with the pendulum swinging back in favor of the band with their excellent last album Waking The Dead release.
Sadly since then the revolving door line-up saw guitarist Tracii Guns leave and with him went some of the band's momentum.
Tales From The Strip is an attempt by vocalist Phil Lewis to take the band back to their early roots with new guitarist Stacey Blades reflecting on the band's golden era as one of LA's Sunset Strip bands an era that saw Motley Crue, Shark Island and Guns N Roses also at their peak.
In its own way, this album has a retro vibe that mirrors the sound of the band's first three records, primarily mixing the vibe of the self-titled debut and Hollywood Vampires.
However, just has been the case with other bands attempting a similar step backwards, the guys have taken a step backwards with production quality. This is one of LA Guns roughest and rawest efforts to date and it is a long way from their hard hitting best displayed on Waking The Dead and my personal favourite, 1994's Vicious Circle.
I say it time and time again - you don't have to sacrifice a decent sound to achieve a retro vibe. Andy Johns is producer again here, as he was for Waking The Dead, but sonically the two have little in common. I'm really surprised at the quality of Johns' recent production work.
On the upside, the songs of Tales From The Strip for the most part are pretty memorable and have that classic LA Guns attitude.
I like the dirty rock n roll of the opening track It Don't Mean Nothing and the Hollywood Vampires vibe of Electric Neon Sunset.
And the autobiographical Vampire is a moody walk through the past with a cool chorus and is perhaps the album's highlight.
But on the other side of the coin you have Hollywood's Burning a track that is just too rough and raw and doesn't sonically match the better sounding numbers.
And there simply is no point to 6.9 Earthshaker a forgettable mid-album drum solo instrumental.
The punk rock of Crazy Motorcycle and the heavy rock of Skin almost work, but neither track has the venom produced on the Vicious Circle album.
And the album closes with a double disappointment - another instrumental in the form of Amanecer leads into the closing track (Can't Give You) Anything Better Than Love which is just sonically messy.
The drum and guitar sound on this album is really sub-par and isn't close to the major label quality of Waking The Dead.
Kudos to new guitarist Stacey Blades, who does a great job replacing the big personality that is Tracii Guns. The Lewis/Guns chemistry is probably impossible to replicate, but Blades does put his own stamp on these proceedings.
The Bottom Line
Criticisms aside, this album still has a bit to offer. I wouldn't expect the band to draw in any new fans with this, but I conclude that the majority of established fans will be happy enough with the album and certainly its style. The overall vibe reminds me of what was achieved on the Man In The Moon release.
Yes, the production should have been better and the album doesn't close as strongly as it opens, but the album is strong enough to see the band continue on.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
LA Guns
Cocked And Loaded
Hollywood Vampires
Vicious Circle
Cuts (EP)
American Hardcore
Greatest Hits & Black Beauties
Shrinking Violet
Cocked & Re-Loaded
Man In The Moon
Waking The Dead
Rips The Covers Off
Tales From The Strip

Line Up:
Phil Lewis: Vocals
Stacey Blades: Guitar
Steve Riley: Drums
Adam Hamilton: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
LA Guns - Man In The Moon
Phil Lewis
Track Listing
It Don't Mean Nothing*
Electric Neon Sunset*
Gypsy Soul
Original Sin
Hollywood's Burning
6.9 Earthshaker
Rox Baby Girl
Crazy Motorcycle
(Can't Give You) Anything Better Than Love
--*Best Tracks

20/04/07: 5150 -
Rating: 41
Great, great CD. About time we get some great rock.

I cant believe it only got 80% When (I've said this before! LOL) when so many crud CD's on here get 90+ every time???

11/11/05: Splash -
Rating: 86
L.A. Guns have returned to form on this album. I haven't been very interested in the band over the last few years but I remained a fan and always picked up whatever new album came out in hopes something would be as good as Hollywood Vampires. This album is nearly that good but not simular. It's loud rock & roll with the old school swagger of their first album. Phil Lewis sounds stellar vocally and he hasn't lost a thing over the years. You can't tell Traci or Mick are not here. This album has good songs with decent production and Steve Riley's solid drumming. Absolutely the best album the bands put together in many years with the revolving door of singers, none of which ever captured the energy and sleeze of Phil's cutesy nasal off pitch wailing! Thanks for a good album again!

08/11/05: Panagiotis -
Rating: 99
Now this is what i call hard rock music!!! I love this album i love this band!!! LA GUNS FOREVER!!!

02/11/05: Justin -
Rating: 80
Excellent record. Every LA Guns album with Phil Lewis on vocals in excellent. Tracy is a simpler guitarist than Tracii. A little more raw and sleazy too. The one dimensional lyrics might hurt any other band but actually make for a great focused LA Guns album. Plus, they finally have a song in the same vein as one of my personal favorites "Over the Edge"..."Vampire". Highly recommended album!

02/11/05: don watson -
Rating: 88
I have just recently become a LA Guns fan, starting with Waking the Dead, which was super and now this awesome cd! Lots of good lead guitar. "I never wanna work another day in my life, I wanna California tan and a trophy wife" Catchy little part of the first track I can't seem to get out of my head! Phil Lewis sounds great. This one is for all of you who are looking for lots of guitar licks and a great voice!!

01/11/05: Draka -
Rating: 82
Stacey Blades is a fine guitarist with a rock sound that may appeal to Guns and Roses fans and the early LA Guns supporters.
Not a bad record with some very good songs.
Great vocals by Phil Lewis!

01/11/05: Robert Jason -
Rating: 85
This is a great CD they certainly are not missing Traci Guns this new guitarist is awesome, if you like that 80`s Hollywood rock go get this CD, the only thing I don`t like is the drum solo in the middle of the CD.

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