Long running hard rockers L.A. Guns have announced the release of their new studio album, Checkered Past. Written and recorded while the world was still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, the new studio album 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.
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 as well as Checkered Past, arguably one of the most vital and exciting releases in the band’s catalog.
The story of how we got from the band’s powerful early years to a third new studio album in the relatively short time that Guns and Lewis have reunited has already been well documented, so no need to rehash it. What’s important to know and understand is that the driving force of all those classic L.A. Guns songs was Tracii and Phil. 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 at a creative peak. 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.