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Seven Dreary Songs
on 8 March 2012
Oh dear. As a lifelong UFO fan who has everything they've ever recorded I've found my enthusiasm dwindling on an album by album basis. The first Vinnie Moore CD 'You Are Here' was indeed muscular and mighty throughout, helped in no small part I suspect by Jon Bonham's aggressive drumming and a reinvigorated Mogg after the dark direness that was 'Sharks', the final Schenker album. But since then we've had the disjointed 'Monkey Puzzle' and the downright disappointing 'The Visitor'. So when 'Seven Deadly' dropped through the letterbox I approached with caution. Things start well - 'Fight Night' is a strong melodic rocker with a tinge of AC/Dc about it, it's back to the 80's with 'Wonderland' reprising 'We Belong To The Night', and 'Mojo Town' has a good blues/funk riff as a backbone with a strong chorus. Then its the start a slow but steady deterioration;- 'Angel Station' has Moore ripping off 'Swallow' from 'You Are Here'. 'Year of the Gun' is throwaway, as is 'The Last Stone Rider', 'Steal Yourself', 'Burn Your House Down'. The list goes on. Regretably. Then we reach an appauling nadir with 'The Fear' a blues boogie that should have been drowned at birth. There is a partial recovery with 'Waving Goodbye' which is 'Son of Angel station' in its intensity and then off down the hill again with two more lamentable 'bonus' tracks 'Other Mens Wives' is yet another blues shuffle, reminiscent of 'Someone's Gonna Have To Pay' from 'Sharks' and the less said about the phoned in piano/vocal duet of 'Bag O'Blues' the better.
I get no pleasure from writing this review. There are strong points - Mogg's aging but soulful vocals, his evocative if sometimes opaque verse and the opening three tracks show vitality and passion even if they are retreads of a glorious past. Chief irritant in the whole proceedings is Vinnie Moore's guitar playing and sound. Most of his song-writing ideas sound like reheated ideas, or merely uninspired bits and pieces strung together leaving Mogg, as ever, as the quality ingredient. But, as Shaekspeare himself put it, 'You can't polish a turd. My leige' (Hamlet - Act 2, Scene 3). Possibly the fault lies with the guitars being recorded on a different continent to the rest of the tracks. His solo sound is horrible and whilst he holds his undoubted shredding abilities in abeyance for most of the time I still find myself wincing at the lack of a solo sound. It's too nice, compressed, clean. It doesn't have soul, fire or - God forbid - inspiration.
I thought I'd feel better having got this all off my chest but sadly not. If you are new to UFO or wondering which albums to buy try these for starters; 'Force It', Lights Out', 'Obsession'. 'The Wild The Willing & The Innocent' and, of course, the unimaginably magnificent 'Strangers In The Night'. Then listen to 'Seven Deadly'. You'll notice the difference.