In a lot of ways I wish I had written this review sooner after I had received a copy of the CD than I have, but it didn't happen and so I am left reviewing an album which has become a solid favourite in the car.
Having said that, although enjoying the first couple of time through the tracks it was an album that grew on me rather than being an instant hit.
Overall the album is a heavier effort than the last PRP offering, 'Raw Material', while still retaining the feeling that the guys are enjoying themselves. The vocals are solid throughout, and the guitar work is rather good! Andy Simmons' setup is one that will sound instantly familiar to a lot of us; flying V through almost certainly Marshall amps. I have to be honest and say that his playing and writing style is also very similar to that of some Schenker recordings, especially in the way he inter-weaves licks in the background, but this is in no way meant to be derogatory and his distinct style does shine through.
Now a brief track by track summary,
1. Deep Space
I would have ditched this from the album for the reason that it has a very 'Lost Horizons' feel to it, almost uncannily to my ears in fact. But I could be wrong.....
2. Scream Blue Murder
I don't want to hark on about this, but there are some very Schenkerish licks to this, the chorus slows the pace down a bit from the catchy sound of the song. The first guitar solo is where you really start to notice Simmons guitar work which continues to a high standard throughout this album.
3. My Radio
Good heavy, catchy, start. The song is singing the praises of the obviously not referring to UK radio! Only real criticism is the mid song bit where goes to a radio retuning. After a few listens this bit isn't too bad, but the first few times it IS annoying! I can guarantee though that this song will suddenly start going round your head when you don't expect it!
4. Man On A Mission
Another heavy sounding song, chorus slows things down, but again a catchy tune (am I getting repetitive?) with some impressive guitar work.
5. Face Of An Alien
This was the first song I heard off this album, admittedly a demo version over the phone, but this is probably the star song of the album. Starts off slowly before crashing into the chorus. Probably the heaviest of all, with mellow moments throughout. The song is let down however by the guitar picking throughout which (due to production problems I'm lead to understand) is very mono and grating like someone scratching their nails down a blackboard. This is a shame because it's a great song apart from that.
6. Sacred Ground
A more atmospheric song, allowing for some more emotion to come through in both the vocals and guitar, which gets you nice and relaxed for what will leave fans divided over I think....
7. Lights Out (For the Millennium)*
Some of you won't like this. No, some of you will hate this! Personally I quite like it, but forget the original (if you can) and listen to this in the fun attitude this was almost certainly written in. With the upbeat drums apparently done by a certain Stefan Kadar (?!) this is NOT just another cover! The only thing that really let's it down, and it pains me to say this, is Phil Moggs vocals. I guess when you've sung this song so many times it's nigh on impossible to change the way you sing it, but, unfortunately, over the radically different backing a different approach was needed. Sorry guys!
8. Can't Let Go
The ballad of the album slows things down nicely and lets you get over the shock of the previous track. If I were to criticise it sounds very Aerosmithy, and you could almost imagine Tyler doing a cover of this, but having said that it is still a good song.
9. Living On The Outside
Another catchy song switching between soft and heavy sections.
10. She's On A Roll*
The second of the two songs featuring Moggy, and this one's much better! It's hard to describe without trying to compare it to a UFO song because of the vocals, but I think that most fans will be happy with this one.
11. Shining Star
The final non-instrumental of the album fits in pretty much with the whole theme of the CD. It's about this stage where I regret doing a track by track review and find it impossible not to repeat myself so maybe I should get on and finish!
12. Flights of Fancy
A pleasant instrumental to finish off the album, which fits in extremely well with the mood of the whole CD.
So overall, a good solid album with some excellent guitar work. There is certainly a fair amount of experimentation going on in the style, but on the whole it works and this certainly a worthwhile addition to the UFO family tree.
David Wood June 1999.