Written and recorded during late 2020 and early 2021, “Checkered Past” sees Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, and company continuing with the darker lyrical tone of the preceding studio albums, “The Devil You Know” and “The Missing Peace” while incorporating their classic rock influences into the mix. Heavier songs are mixed with bluesier, boogie-inducing tracks and dark, introspective ballads, often harkening back to the first three albums the band made but also pushing the band forward. When fans absorb the album as a whole, they’ll see that the tracklisting is divided up into ‘sets’ or ‘suites’, where a sonic style is explored across multiple songs before moving on to the next, making for a remarkable listening experience.
Feeling inspired and excited like they did when they first started out, but with many years of wisdom and experience under their belts, and most importantly, a renewed and stronger creative and personal relationship, Guns and Lewis are maintaining a creative peak that started with “The Missing Peace”. “Checkered Past” shows a band invigorated and ready to bash you over the head, as well as “wow” you with some epic, slower songs, and even make you dance a bit to some rock ‘n roll. From their self-titled debut in 1988 to the widely praised comeback albums “The MissingPeace” and “The Devil You Know”, L.A. GUNS, led by Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis has always delivered solid rock ‘n roll to their fans. This current incarnation of the band has been touring non-stop, with a notable break coinciding with all other touring bands, and the cohesiveness of the unit, not to mention Phil’s stunning and unique vocals andGuns’mind-bending guitar playing, are on full display here. A must hear and listen for all fans of the band, both new and old.
L.A. Guns never looked like the pretty poster boys that so many of their peers did, but more the band that you would be terrified to bump into in an alley as they would likely be carrying switchblades and ready for a fight. But despite having many songs to back up that image, the band could also write powerful ballads (see the smash hit, “The Ballad of Jayne” for Exhibit A of this argument) that showed there were some serious songwriting chops in the band. Those chops are on full display on the band’s two most recent studio albums and the upcoming new album, “Checkered Past,” arguably one of the most vital and exciting releases in the band’s catalog.