With the name L.A. Guns now referring to two syncretistic bands, the arguably more authentic Tracii Guns led band have reissued their 1999 album Shrinking Violet to remind listeners how a Jizzy Pearl fronted L.A. Guns sounds. Whilst lacking the signature voice of Phil Lewis, Shrinking Violet is a surprisingly strong album throughout. Present as ever are the well delivered guitars and hooks; moments like the title cut’s winding riffs and slithering leads show that Tracii still has a knack for good guitar lines - Pearl even makes a good job of filling his predecessor’s boots, although his signature whine has an awful tendency to sleep to a very uncomfortable screech. Amongst the album’s strongest moments are the slightly more mature tracks, however. For instance, desperado-ballad 'Barbed Wire' sees the band stretching out, moving discreetly from subdued rhythms into a haunting and grandiose guitar-dominated climax, before finishing with a rather tasteful acoustic solo. Indeed, Shrinking Violet shows a lot of variety throughout, from the grungy, bass-heavy skulk of 'I’ll Be There' to the glam-tinged blues of 'Bad Whiskey' – and yet, remarkably, nothing sounds out of place.
The reissue sees the addition of some live tracks of the newest incarnation of the Tracii Guns-led L.A. Guns tackling some of the band’s classics more than capably. Whilst cuts like 'Rip N Tear' don’t sound quite right without Lewis behind the mic, the band shows they’re still able to pull of classics like 'Never Enough'. All in all, the live tracks prove a nice bonus for fans new and old alike.