on 2 March 2007
As a UFO fan I like this album like all the rest. In truth this is probably the worst of the "Schenker" offerings and is musically and lyrically poorer than the other seven studio albums he appeared on. On the plus side it has freshness, good production and a greater variety of guitar sounds. As usual it opens well with a good rocker "Outlaw Man" featuring a bit of slide guitar. The ballad like "Serenity" also has its moments. Schenker obviously found some new toys and plays with more effects, sounding in part like a poor mans version of Billy Gibbons on "Someone's Gonna Have to Pay". There just isn't for me that usual flow in the song writing and soloing that you come to expect. I am also wondering if Phil Mogg had a bet with the other boys to see how many famous names he could drop in one album full of songs! Most of the other tracks are usual UFO formula and not particularly memorable or as good as previous efforts. The high point for me is two hidden gems "Sea of Faith" and "Fighting Man" which are worth the asking price alone. Fighting Man is a typical anthem like rocker currently in their live set and "Sea of Faith" is just quality. In summary buy this after all the other Schenker and Vinnie Moore featured albums. "No Place to Run" and "TWTWATI" are also better albums than this.
on 3 October 2002
One of my favourite albums, as a teeneager, was UFO's Force It!. I was mesmerised by Schenker's guitar work. By chance, I encountered Sharks, the first offering from UFO I had heard in over 20 years, and their maturity really shows in the most positive way in this well-crafted album. The band members must all be pushing 50 now, but if anything, they're better , tighter. The production sound 20 years on adds to the improvement. Phil Mogg no longer attempts to strain his voice and vocally sounds settled and highly competent. Schenker, if anything, has got better, if that's possible. And Aynsley Dunbar (session man, ex. Whitesnake et al) having taken the place of old drummer Andy Parker, brings his wealth of experience to underpin the solid rhythm throughout. The album is definately more Hard than Heavy, with the bluesy "Someone's gonna have to pay" - a raunchy lament of the lack of revolutionary spirit in the youth of today (illustrating the old codgers' maturity), the commercial-ish "Shadow Dancer", and "Quicksilver Rider", good solid hard rock of a lyrical theme reminiscent of the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil".
These sharks may bet getting on in years, but they can still bite. Somehow, after listening to this offerring, I don't feel so old any more!
on 3 September 2008
I can see where Wild Colonial Boy is coming from (and I'm betting Force It is his fave UFO album!), but a word or two for Deadman Walking (no relation to Ian Hunter's song of almost the same name) and Perfect View. The first has such an interesting arrangement that Schenker just reused it on City Lights (In the Midst of Beauty). The second is a fast-paced rocker on which Mogg's humour is well to the fore, and in which Schenker gets pretty heated. Mogg's vocals are so good on this album that it CAN'T be the worst UFO-with-Schenker album (so what IS the worst UFO-with-Schenker album? No idea...). WCB correctly states that the production is great, and the sound is probably as good as that on Walk on Water. The engineer had worked on Santana's The Supernatural, which is a big plus.
I'd describe this as a "triumph over adversity" album (like Purple's Battle Rages On). The band was about to suffer / enjoy a major change, and this was the link between then and now. It remains a great record.
(And sorry, WCB, but Fighting Man is too close to AC/DC for comfort. Which may be why MS didn't play all the guitar on it...)