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UFO Reissues EMI (2009)


This excellent set of UFO re-releases keep coming and now we reach one of my favourite UFO albums, Mechanix. This was one of the albums to feature guitarist Paul Chapman and also on keyboards/sax was Neil Carter, joining the long standing trio of vocalist Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way and drummer Andy Parker.

Kicking off with 'The Writer' you have a superb song, big guitar riff and the way the keyboard solo segues into a sax then the guitar solo is sheer bliss to the ears. In fact the use of sax on here is never OTT but greatly adds to some songs including the b-side 'Heel Of A Stranger', a cracking melodic rock song added on this release as a bonus track. The band do some very commercial tunes on here as well like 'Let It Rain' and of course Phil Mogg gets to pour his heart out in the big production number 'Terri', UFO do like using their string sections. 'We Belong To The Night' and 'Feel It' keep the hard rock quota going nicely whilst the band's cover of Eddie Cochran's rock 'n' roll classic 'Somethin' Else' you will either love or hate but for me it is a good cover, again the sax added to the guitar works very well.

Bonus songs are the aforementioned b-side plus three live songs - 'We Belong To The Night' (complete with 'Hello Oxford' intro very Spinal Tap), 'Let It Rain' and 'Doing It All For You'. The live tracks are all previously unreleased and of good sound quality.

One of the band's best albums for me and this re-release/re-master is worthy of a place in your collection. ****

The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent was originally released in 1981 and the second album to feature Paul Chapman (ex-Lone Star) era of UFO plus the the debut of Neil Carter on keyboards (although Jon Sloman played uncredited keys on this album). This remastered version adds three bonus songs - live versions of 'Lonely Heart', 'Long Gone' and 'Makin' Movies'.

There are some classic UFO hard rockers on here in the shape of 'Chains, Chains' and 'Long Gone' highlights some very tasty sax and piano parts. Paul Chapman lets fly with a short but sweet solo as well midway through. The ballad 'Profession Of Violence' closes the album and Chapman really comes into his own on the wonderful soloing - tight and melodic yet never OTT.

Great album all round and proves the band could still cut it after Michael Schenker had left the band. ****

No Place To Run was Paul Raymond's last album with the band before he left (only to rejoin back in the 90's) and the debut recording by new guitarist Paul Chapman. For me not one of the band's best although the cover of the Elvis tune 'Mystery Train' still graces the live set today and is a damn fine rocker. 'Anyday' and 'Gone In The Night' are classic UFO hard rock tunes, great vocals from Phil Mogg coupled with tight rhythm and hard rockin' guitar. But the title track and the very dated instrumental 'Alpha Centauri' are very lacklustre.

One for fans only and the band's next two albums featuring Paul Chapman are much better investments for your collection. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

Best of 2009

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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