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NOT QUITE BACK TO THE LIGHT!
on 5 September 2001
In 1998, when this album was released, I immediately rushed out on it's day of release and purchased the first copy to be sold in the shop.
I raced home, whacked it in the CD player and pressed play, ready to behold the genius of Brian May pound through my speakers.
And that is exactly what happened - sort of. Brian has seemed a bit uneasy since he went solo. With a six year gap between his first, better, effort 'Back To The Light', and this, it's easy to see that he wasn't quite sure what his next direction would be.
'Another World' is a very mixed bag, but by no means to be written off as bad. It's very good, but hover over the 'next track' button. Some tracks are better than others, and don't expect another 'Back To The Light'.
'Business' is typical Brian - relentless, chugging, wailing, remarkable guitar playing and ever reliable, though sadly now deceased, Cozy Powell, reducing his drum kit to sawdust. 'China Belle' is an unusual rocker in oriental style, followed swiftly by tender ballad 'Why Don't We Try Again'.
We're off to a good start. 'On My Way Up' is an amusing, funky, but ploddy acoustic track that, unfortunately, begins to sound too much like a sing-along-a-knees-up-down-the-pub before too long. Then, we arrive at the shouldn't-be-allowed atrocity that is .. 'Cyborg'. Featuring Foo Fighters man Taylor Hawkins on guest drums, it begins with a bass riff that sounds like someone drowning and is immediately matched by the only redeeming feature - the gob-smackingly complicated lead guitar part, followed by a robot-like voice reciting some truly awful lyrics ('Calling out for the Cyborg/Gonna rub you out', 'Calling out for the Cyborg/Gonna put your light out', 'I'm gonna erase your file' etc.) Only Brian!
Jeff Beck and Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople fame also appear fleetingly, and there are very creditable covers of Hoople track 'All The Way From Memphis' and Larry Williams' 'Slow Down'. But that's about it.
It has to be said that Brian's voice, although having the range, does not have the power to compete with the strong rhythm and musical backing, and strains on numerous occasions, and has habit of being quite annoying. I await the day a new May album appears (discounting film soundtrack 'Furia'), as it will no doubt feature more of the same, but hopefully, a bit better.