on 30 June 2008
Ah yes, the 'difficult' second album. In fact, it's not impenetrable, and benefits from being entirely written from within the band. Hunter himself has been vocal in his criticism of this record, as has Buffin, but they had to sweat in a hot studio with Guy Stevens (RiP) at his most demanding. We didn't, so we can simply enjoy the fruits of their labours!
Mick Ralphs' Thunderbuck Ram is a great opener. The original light-heavy combination (ok, Mountain had done a similar thing with Nantucket Sleighride), it at times literally thunders, but always keeps an eye on melody. Hunter's No Wheels to Ride is a funny one. A gentleman from Glasgow swears it's the greatest song ever written, and it's certainly good. Lyrically, it conjures up strong images; musically, it builds to a majestic finale. You Are One Of Us is a stumpy little rocker, and quite charming. But Ian's Walking with a Mountain is the ultimate Mott live rock-out. A terrific piece of hard rock'n'roll, with Ralphs to the fore again, and with a dose of good humour. The three tracks that make up the second side seem linked. The IH-composed I Can Feel is pretty ambitious, and was a foretaste, perhaps, of The Journey. Threads of Iron, Ralpher's second contribution, is manic heavy rock, and quite messy. This chaotic approach works pretty well, though. Hunter's vocal acrobatics are hilariously intense, but then he decides to calm the mood with the eerie, piano-driven When My Mind's Gone, in which Ralphs, Griffin, and possibly Watts, retire to the pub.
Mott fans swear by this album, but it's caught between two identities. Is it MtH's 'dark' album, or the blueprint for Brain Capers' cathartic implosion? Whichever, it's well worth the risk of buying. And see if you can work out how the spooky image at front was created!
NB The bonus tracks actually relate to the next two MtH albums, Wildlife and the 'said Brain Capers.
on 26 March 2014
I bought this album a million years ago and loved it. Since the 'digital age' it has sat unplayed for far too long.
Finally I've re-bought it and, yes, it's as brilliant today as it was all those years ago.
Stand out track for me was then and is now, 'When my Mind's Gone' - hauntingly superb vocals and piano.
Mott the Hoople were always a bit negative about this album - I guess because it was a bit of a dark period for them - but it truly captures the angst of the time and their remarkably good musicianship.
You may guess from this review, you should buy this album!!
on 25 September 2008
While this album is a vast improvement on their debut offering, the legacy of Guy Stevens is still with them. I don't like to speak ill of the dead but according to the sleeve notes with this disc he was again controlling the mixing etc, and this recording has quite a few flaws, though not material or playing wise.
Numbers like 'Thunderbuck ram', 'No wheels to ride' and 'Walking with a mountain' would become staple live material for the rest of the bands time together, and rightly so, top class.
The downside, squeaky drum pedals, Guy's dislike of Phally leads to his organ being mixed down to background level (he tried to sack him, fortunately without success).
In Andy Johns they had Islands top recording engineer, and he no doubt did his best to give the lads what they wanted but..........
Unlike the first album, there are no covers here, of the seven tracks on the original album Ian Hunter wrote four, while Mick Ralphs supplied the rest.
A mix of out and out foot stomping rockers and slower Dylanesque numbers.
Bonus tracks are ok, the country rockish 'it would be a pleasure' by MR would be typical of their next album 'Wildlife', while Ian and Phally's 'How long' would open their final Island recording 'Brain capers'.
Even though it has its drawbacks, this album is still a worthy addition to any rock collection, sadly if left to their own devices, the Mottsters could have made it a masterpiece.