The second Scorpions album is a welcome shift from the spaced-out "Krautrock" of their debut into a solid heavy rock vein; in fact, opening number 'Speedy's Coming' is without question a pure heavy metal number, racing out of the blocks with fiery guitars and a frenetic rhythm. The rest of the album doesn't match 'Speedy's...' sheer intensity, but there's still plenty of high-grade heaviness on offer, albeit of a rather more psychedelic leaning. This is mainly due to Uli Jon Roth's Hendrix-fixated but totally involving and hugely impressive lead guitar work, although some of the vocal deliveries and harmonies also help create a rather unusual sonic patchwork. 'They Need a Million' is one such example, the sound still struggling to break free of the band's sixties roots, but although third track 'Drifting Sun' is also undoubtedly rooted in the era of LSD, it soars to new frontiers. The only song on the album penned solely by Roth, this is a tower of effects-laden guitar virtuosity and rolling, rollicking percussion - an undoubted highpoint of the album. Against this, 'Fly People Fly' could sound rather insipid; fortunately, Klaus Meine's vocals are finding their true strengths even at this early stage in the band's recording career and he carries the song admirably, with some lovely (if typically noisy) guitar accompaniment from Roth.
'This is My Song' and 'Far Away' are agreeable enough melodic rockers (the latter in possession of some quite charming vocal work), but the album's key moment is at the end with the title track. At a majestic nine-and-a-half minutes, 'Fly to the Rainbow' is a Roth-era Scorpions classic, starting out life acoustically and then moving to standard mid-paced hard rock territory before soaring up and away, across the mountains and into the heavens. Again, it's Uli Jon Roth who shows the way, ruling the song and dominating the finale, and he even carries off his vocal parts with credibility (a definite rarity, as any Scorpions fan will attest).
In fact, it's fair to say that 'Fly to the Rainbow' wouldn't be half the album it is without Roth's contribution; whilst one can never overlook the songwriting of Rudolph Schenker and Klaus Meine, it's their flamboyant and inspired lead guitarist who dominates here. 'Fly to the Rainbow' isn't as accomplished a record as its successors and if you're looking to explore early Scorpions music, you'd do better by starting with 'In Trance' or 'Virgin Killer'. Nonetheless, there's plenty to recommend it to any fan of early Seventies heavy rock.