Hot Wire

Kix has everything you expect from a hard-rock band: Down-and-dirty guitar riffs, a singer capable of high-pitched screams, lyrics about sexy young babes. So how does this quintet manage to rise above the clichés? Perhaps living on the fringes of success has helped keep an edge: After making its debut in 1981 with Kix, the group didn’t mine gold until its fourth album, 1988’s Blow My Fuse. With No. 5, Hot Wire, the guys still sound like a fresh-faced bar band that’s hot to trot. Songs like ”Rock & Roll Overdose” have the typically beery effervescence that sparks what is otherwise a not terribly original approach. It’s to L.A. Guns’ credit, meanwhile, that on their second album, Hollywood Vampires, they opt for creativity instead of rehashing the formula that brought them fame. The R&B-influenced ”Here It Comes” is a welcome left turn away from the straight-shooting rock on the group’s gold-selling 1989 album, Cocked and Loaded. But on too many songs, such as ”Some Lie for Love,” the band hasn’t replaced its original punk energy with anything distinctive. L.A. Guns sound like a band that hasn’t quite found a new direction. B-

Hot Wire
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