16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
It's UFO but not as I know it..........!!!!!!,
This review is from: The Monkey Puzzle (Audio CD)
Let me start by putting this review in perspective. I have just arrived back from a four day trip to Scotland - one thousand miles round trip, a total of about fifteen hours driving. I took ONLY one cd with me "The Monkey Puzzle", bought the day before my trip on the back of the storming reviews on Amazon.
I have followed UFO for the last quarter of a century ever since the Tommy Vance friday night rock show playing of SITN. They were the first band I saw live and I have seem them blow every other band away. I have also almost cried as Phil forgot words and (more recently) when Mr Schenker struggled to hit the right notes on his flying V. If you saw the gig at Manchester, trust me, you will know how bad it was.
Saying that I rate Phil as one of the best (unsung) songwriters of the last twenty five years. I have bought just about everything they have made and Phil and Pete have always been the glue that bound the band together.
After buying this album on the back of the reviews on this site I spent ages trying to work out why it just wasn't doing it for me. I played this cd back to back hour after hour and am still not exactly sure why I believe that it is not as great as everyone else seems to think - although I have some ideas.
Firstly, I can only describe some of the songs as "light weight" or even "soft". I am not sure whether this is down to over production, the way the songs have been mixed or the fact that when you look at the credits, they were all recorded seperately. For me UFO have always worked at their best when playing as a band,with lead and rythym guitar - I still rate the partnership between Tonka, Paul and Neil Carter (where are you now)? On this album the rythym guitar seems to be way back in the mix (overshadowed sometimes by the keybords)resulting in my humble opinion in a lack of power.
"Hard Being Me" is a great intro to the album and the nearest song to a rocker as I can find on this cd. It is typical UFO and works really well. Then the change happens. "Heavenly Body" has one of the heaviest guitar riffs on the album but I find the verse and chorus difficult to separate. Good solo and here you can hear the solo backed up by another guitar. If you need the first really good example of what I mean with the guitars listen to the first part of Vinnie's solo on "Some Other Guy". The only thing backing it up is Pete on the bass - then listen to the change in feeling when the rythym guitar kicks in. Miles better." Who's Fooling Who" has a great intro which builds and when the first verse starts it actually sent shivers down my spine - there's real tension there. Then the whole feeling of the song changes with a really light weight chorus!" Black & Blue" is another of the songs that seems to start well and then becomes repetitive and the ending just seems down right strange - it just drifts until Phil finishes with "my baby's in flight"."Drink to Much" and "Goodbye You", well, I have never been a big ballad fan but I just skip these tracks."World Cruise" again starts very promisingly but again the verse and riff just seem very soft and needs turning up to 11. "Rolling Man" reminds me of "When Daylight Goes to Town" from "You are Here" but again just drifts and gets a little repetitive with "come on, come on". Finally, Kingston Town" again starts with a really good lick, good verse and then the chorus goes all light weight and spoils it...!
I really wanted to enjoy this album especially as I bought it on the back of the reviews on this site. Whilst not brilliant it still has enough UFO to get me to play it. But, it is not as good as "You Are Here".
There is no doubting the talent and experience within the band but this album could be so much more that it is. It will be interesting to see the tracks performed live........!