Walk On Water

UFO

CMC International Records, 1995

http://www.ufo-music.info

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/28/1998

Maybe the old saying is true: Love's more comfortable the second time around.

Back in the mid '70s, UFO was one of the premier hard rock bands to come storming out of England. The classic lineup of lead singer Phil Mogg, lead guitarist Michael Schenker, bassist Pete Way, drummer Andy Parker and keyboardist Paul Raymond achieved immortality with their album Lights Out, and released what some consider the ultimate live album, Strangers In The Night. But the band splintered apart after Schenker departed for a solo career, and while UFO pressed on for some time, the magic was gone.

Now, the "classic" lineup has reunited on their latest release nbtc__dv_250 Walk On Water - and if I didn't know any better, I'd say that UFO never sounded better.

The leadoff single "Venus" is proof that these guys still have the creative fire that powered songs like "Too Hot To Handle" and "Love To Love" back in the '70s. Schenker's guitar playing always has amazed me, and he possibly is at the top of his game on this song. Mogg's vocals haven't lost any of their edge, while Way and Parker's sound is incredibly crisp (thanks, in part, to the production hand of Ron Nevison). Raymond's keyboards and rhythm guitar are the final ingredient that make this mix work as well as it does.

Cuts like "A Self Made Man," "Pushed To The Limit" and "Knock, Knock" might throw longtime UFO fans for a surprising loop - with the exception that the production quality of these songs is far superior, they might think that these are just leftovers from albums like Force It or Lights Out. No, no - these are freshly recorded, and are amazingly powerful. This is good for a band that, in 1977, didn't know which category they'd fit in - are they metal, hard rock or AOR? Nowadays, any of the cuts on Walk On Water would nicely fit onto the rock radio format.

The only drawback to this album is it's occasionally easy to get lost in the album - tracks like "Darker Days" and "Running On Empty," while good, tend to blend together, and it's hard to keep the tracks separate in one's mind. And while I can appreciate the fact that the band wants to tie the present to the past by re-recording their hits "Doctor, Doctor" and "Lights Out," I wonder why they'd want to tamper with a good thing.

And, of course, the ultimate question is whether UFO will be able to keep the internal squabbles down and maintain their classic lineup for many albums to come. Time will only provide this answer, but if future releases are anything like Walk On Water, I hope they have negotiated a long truce. (I also hope they continue to use Nevison as a producer; he's the perfect selection for this band.)

Walk On Water has material that will please both the long-time and nouveau UFO fan, and is definitely my pick (so far) for "Comeback Of The Year".

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.