1) Girl You Turn Me On
2) Shrinking Violet
4) Barbed Wire
5) I’ll Be There
8) Big Lil’ Thing
9) Bad Whiskey
Bonus Live Tracks:
11) Rip and Tear
12) Never Enough
13) The Ballad of Jayne
14) One More Reason
One of the most quintessential Hollywood sleaze bands to come out of the 80s glam metal scene is the LA Guns. This band is steeped in US metal history with notable family lineages tracing back to Guns-n-Roses, WASP and Ratt. The press kit accompanying this re-issue of Shrinking Violet ends to remind me that this version of LA Guns is the real, accept no substitutes thing – obviously a poke at original hey-day lead singer, Phil Lewis’ attempt to perform under the name LA Guns after a break-up in the early 2000s.
Donned in new artwork that epitomises that sort of Hollywood-style tattoo art of skulls and shiny metal guns, the Shrinking Violet Deluxe Reissue features nine new songs and five bonus live tracks that are probably the most recognisable hits by the band.
While I really dig “The Ballad of Jayne” and “Rip and Tear”, I must admit that I initially thought “oh no, here we go again, just regurgitating the same ole’ stuff”. I’ll start off by saying I was totally wrong. The live tracks are very well recorded and I found myself singing at the top of my lungs in the car – “what a shame, what happened to Jayne!”
The band line-up features LA Guns’ founding member and Sunset Strip, guitar god Tracii Guns (who I must say, judging from album artwork has aged very well, yummy), Jizzy Pearl (obviously not his Christian name, ha!) on vocals, Jeremy Guns on bass and Chad Stewart on skins. Pearl’s whiskey vocals are amazing throughout the album and are absolutely dripping with sexy sleaze.
Shrinking Violet kicks off with a full-on, very commercial “Girl You Turn Me On” and is followed up by the title track, “Shrinking Violet”. The next two tracks though slow the tempo down and represent a pop at the rock ballad. “Dreamtime” has this sort of 50s doo-wap beat and “Barbed Wire” intros with creepy organ, acoustic guitars and overtly passionate chorus.
“I’ll Be There” is my most favourite track of this album. It’s a true pedal to the glam metal type of song. Pearl’s vocals scream “Put the hammer down honey” over the top of meaty hooks provided by Guns’ unremitting guitar work. Then comes an homage to the state that represents this entire genre, “California”.
“Cherries” fluctuates between a very, dare I say it, British pop sound to uber, fast tempos and some great cascading drum fills. The album finally rounds out to a true blues track called “Bad Whiskey”.
LA Guns is currently touring stateside but plan to perform at The Hard Rock Hell 4 Festival in Wales in December and promise to announce some more UK dates shortly.
Listen to LA Guns classic ‘The Ballad of Jayne’ here…