on 29 November 2001
The two cliches about X are that they were Los Angele's best punk band, and that their sound was heavily based on rockabilly. X's first album, though, is a hell of a long way removed from the Cramps or the Gun Club. "Los Angeles" has a lot less twangy guitar and roots rock moves than the other two X reissues out at the moment, and oddly enough makes mincemeat out of both of them. The punk thing is a bit (actually quite a bit) more convincing, but at heart this is a hard rock album with a surprising amount of bluesy grit lurking among the cranked up tempos and fuzz guitar. Next to "Wild Gift" and "Under The Big Black Sun" it sounds a little crude, but given the subject matter and the sound, crude works brilliantly. Producer Ray Manzarek smears organ and synth fills over some of the rawer edges, but the songs are good enough that this is just the icing on the cake. Manzarek's embellishments are more appealing than Cowpunk posturing any day of the week, and it's interesting to hear the guy playing stuff a bit more abrasive than the jazzy noodling from his Door's work.
Another plus point is the contrast between the vocalists: John Doe's warm, slightly hoarse, delivery provides a perfect foil for Exene Cervenka's shrill wailing. They don't even come close to harmonising, but they still work perfectly together.
This is a million miles from most early 'Eighties American punk, and completely devoid of any of the pop flourishes that pushed the bulk of that over the edge into New Wave whiffle. Its lean and pared down sound is sparse enough to avoid sounding dated. This is the kind of album that would have fitted nicely into the 'nineties grunge boom.
on 19 January 2011
An album that was very hard for me to find in shops, it is definitely worth buying off of Amazon considering you'll get it significantly cheaper than from a music shop in the high street. Although I had to return this item due to a friend tipping off to me that he bought me this for Xmas, I still recommend buying it.
This punk band are far less known compared to The Ramones or Sex Pistols, and the fact that Ray Manzarek of The Doors helped in producing the album (And even playing guest organ) makes it all the better.
Apart from the title song (Los Angeles), the best song off of this album has either got to be "Johny Hit & Run Paulene" or "The World's A Mess, It's In My Kiss". Both these tracks show Chuck Berry style influence, and are very catchy songs. In fact, a lot of the songs are catchy, and every track has something unique about it. The track "Nausea" contains a beat that sounds like it's gonna get faster and faster and faster, and encourages you to headbang with it.
The album also contains demo tracks and a special "Dangerhouse Version" of the Los Angeles track.
There is only one word to rate this album, and it's X-traordinary. A must have for a true punk fanatic.