4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Stripped Back to Basics,
This review is from: Seven Deadly (Audio CD)
I'm a bit slow off the mark with this one but then I've played it to death on holiday to be sure. I guess it's easy to criticise with a huge back catalogue to assimilate with but I can make no apology for liking UFO and this album is no exception. To my ears star quality emanates from Phil Mogg who could probably re-record ABBA's Greatest Hits and I would like it.
First impressions were nice artwork and what an absolutely stonkin' opener with "Fight Night" heard on some early sampled releases. The first three tunes "Fight Night", "Wonderland" and "Mojo Town" are all great fiery guitar rockers that will go down very nicely live with some sizzling lead guitar work. "Angel Station" is the first ballad and despite the idiosyncratic title has that classic UFO structure with a lovely gentle rhythm and Mogg lyric. This also provides evidence that Mr Raymond's keyboard does still apparently exist. Criminally retired to the background he must have forgotten what his keys look like there is so little of it featured on the album. "Year of the Gun" is a catchy little thing of a pop-rock number, more lightweight and candidate for a single if ever there was one. Nice little hook and leads from Moore. The next two songs "The Last Stone Rider" and "Steal Away" are more forgettable album tracks, chug along guitar rockers although Moore plays some nice stuff on "Steal Away". "Burn Your House Down" is the second ballad..."second verse, same as the first" but not quite as good.
"The Fear" is a return to a bluesy feel with upfront harmonica, first impression reminiscent of a Dr. Feelgood type thing. "Waving Good Bye" is a nice ballad with a keyboard/acoustic verse that builds to a rocking chorus, the sort of tune they do so well (and have done better many times before). The so-called bonus tracks I like very much as they add variety and interest. "Other Men's Wives" is possibly one of my favourite tunes, more rock and roll based with Mogg on top form. Then there is the atmospheric bar-room blues number "Bag of Blues" which is a welcome change of pulse.
As ever Phil Mogg continues to impress throughout. A better soulful rock voice you will be hard pressed to find anywhere. Parker and Raymond are as ever the solid foundation of the genre, Raymond's writing credits noticeably adding the variety that exists amongst what is essentially a guitar album. Vinnie Moore is an incredible virtuoso talent and plays some tasty riffs but I agree with some of the negatives in the other reviews. Too much irritably squawking high-note vibrato is my little niggling complaint. I stick with what I said about The Visitor review and I'm still waiting. My favourite top-notch players have that killer solo they are famed for but with Moore I don't always find the work memorable.
In summary I think it's pretty well stripped back to basics guitar rock nearly at it's very best. Lost is most of the bluesy feel of the last two offerings replaced with a sometimes heavier but narrow guitar formula. Old fashioned and tediously repetitive? I don't really care. Worthy of five stars.