L.A. Guns need both guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis.
As evidenced here, together they hustle like shady streetwise dealers and deliver music with a dark hue. Like the best albums from this band, Checkered Past is invested in sleaze and rock’n’roll, and sees the aforementioned pair trading off one another’s artistic peccadillos. Cannonball starts everything on the front foot, Get Along slithers and chides, and If It’s Over Now offers menace.
Better Than You has Rolling Stones swing, while Dog harks back to the glories of their ‘89 album Cocked & Loaded.
Yes, there are dips, as on the dirgy Let Me Down or the routine Billy Idol-influenced Bad Luck Charm. But these don’t detract from the overall feeling that the Guns/Lewis alliance, ably backed up by a rhythmic trio, is still one that suits both talents better than any other.