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L.A. Guns | Man in the Moon | review | rock | Lollipop

L.A. Guns

Man in the Moon (Spitfire)
by Vinnie Apicella

L.A. Guns now features 4/5s of the original lineup, sans bassist Kelly Nickels. Man in the Moon was to be a return to the classic style of the early and most-loved material. It's not quite full circle, but it's a start. Featuring a more stripped-down style, gritty and determined, they're apparently not looking for a quick '80s flashback cash-in. The first tune, "Man in the Moon," reminds me of the riff-driven and raucous material on 1994's underrated Vicious Circle - heavy rock with a soothing verse and grinding chorus. "Beautiful" is a quick turnabout, a ballad that's got its roughshod qualities but lacks a little top end presence. Then again, the entire recording sounds very confined, but I believe they're going for a mid-'70s blues-based hard rock jam band quality. I'm not sure if it suits them, but it's definitely got a groove. "Spider's Web" tears a page off their classic Cocked & Loaded, while "Don't Call Me Crazy" gets my pick as the strongest cut. It's the most emotional, downright disturbed tune, to be sure, and it possesses all the dynamic qualities that made L.A. Guns a step above those one or two album glam band rip-offs drinking themselves into oblivion. File next to "One Way Ticket" ("Hey World") and "Crystal Eyes."

This is a record that takes some getting used to, but it's a step in the right direction (actually the second, the first being their reformation). They've strayed from the formulaic style - or "full circle" tendency - to explore a deft and more roots-oriented approach that carries its own weight rather than ten years of guilt-ridden baggage packed to the seams with unfulfilled commercial promise.
(101 Bay Ave. Hicksville, NY 11801)

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