If I could award an album six stars, I'd do so without hesitation for `Lovedrive', undoubtedly the Scorpions' finest studio moment. From the opening chords of `Loving You Sunday Morning' to the closing notes of `Holiday', this record is sheer hard rock perfection. It's the first work of the definitive Scorpions line-up and it's easily their best. With Uli Jon Roth having moved on to a solo career, the band had lost a gifted guitarist blessed with originality and flair and, for better or worse, their sound would never be the same. However, instead of continuing (and undoubtedly stumbling) along in the same direction, they closed that chapter of their history, brought in a new, more metal-hearted guitarist and redefined their sound.
`Lovedrive' is slick, professional and sophisticated. Every track is a classic and every moment is an absolute joy and as such it's difficult to find a low point and impossible to pick a favourite song. `...Sunday Morning' is a deliciously chilled-out melodic rocker, `Another Piece of Meat' and `I Can't Get Enough' are fiery metallic monsters. `Always Somewhere' is a ballad par excellence, the beauty of which is matched later by the simply exquisite `Holiday' and with `Coast to Coast', the Scorpions made one of the great instrumentals of the heavy rock world. `Is There Anybody There' provides a different vibe and a chance for a great singalong yet fits the mood perfectly, and the title track is a masterpiece, possessing a gutsy, driving bass and what is without question one of the finest heavy metal guitar solos in existence, courtesy of guest Michael Schenker.
If I were to pick any flaw in this masterwork, it would be the occasional lyric - they've never been the strong point of the band. Fortunately Klaus Meine can often be indecipherable, so it hardly matters.
This is definitive Scorpions, an album that has stood the test of time and still sounds remarkably fresh, yet has the indelible mark of classic Seventies hard rock. It remains an essential purchase.