Tag Archives: Rock

Love Deadly Love

It’s the Michael Schenker-era UFO that garners all the plaudits. Fair enough. From 1974’s Phenomenon up to its valedictory triumph – Strangers in the Night – Schenker-driven UFO is one of British rock’s most celebrated bands. And rightly so.

But there’s so much more. A renaissance given birth by former shredder’s shredder Vinnie Moore resulted in a string of high-class albums from 2004 onwards. Even before that there have been highs the equal of anything achieved on Schenker’s watch. Take the bafflingly underrated 1992 offering, High Stakes and Dangerous Men (just prior to Schenker rejoining for a second shift with 1995’s Walk On Water).

It’s an album packed with great songs. As with a lot of late-period UFO, there is a tenderness and wry acceptance to much of the material. Mogg, sounding even better than during the band’s commercial peak, is partnered beautifully by Laurence Archer on guitar and the embarrassingly-talented but criminally-underemployed Stevie Lange is drafted in to lift the arrangements to divine heights.

You’d be hard pushed to name one song better than another, all killer no filler being the operative maxim here, but Love Deadly Love is a strong contender. It’s easily one of the best songs ever written by the band. Lyrically, Mogg’s cinematic tale of love, infidelity and revenge is a masterpiece of musical short-story telling and from the opening piano shimmers to the addictive drive of Archer’s guitar; all the way through to one of the band’s finest choruses, there is nothing in the Schenker-era that’s any better. As good, certainly but better? I don’t think so.

Advertisements

Listen Without Prejudice

As all fathers know, life affords few opportunities for deep satisfaction comparable to embarrassing one’s spawn. My love for My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade being a particularly apposite case in point.

My sixteen year-old son, Satanicus Maximus, seems to find no contradiction in his recent worship of Black Veil Brides while pitilessly mocking his auld man for numbering The Black Parade among his all-time favourite albums.

Lurch, however, the Elder Spawn, at a Methuselahian twenty-four might, you’d think, be above such things. You’d be wrong, of course. He is still unable to restrain the sardonic curl of his upper lip when, on a visit to his old home stead of Patersongrad, he encounters my bad self happily spinning the offending disc.

Such genre snobbery is, of course, not new. I well recall my early 80s self keeping my passion for the work of Marc Almond firmly in the closet, lest my teenage metal creds be dashed forever. The admiration I had (still have) for the supremely talented Mr. Almond and Soft Cell being, to continue the rather tasteless metaphor, very much the love that dared not speak its name.

Be all that as it may, to return to the album in question, I will say this: it is a brave, imaginative and superbly-executed piece of work. The young band deciding, in the midle of the digital, disposable, attention-wrecking noughties, to release a concept album inspired by the great dinosaur rock acts of yore. The listener, therefore, will find a deliberate and brilliantly-wrought homage to Queen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Yes and others.

But it’s the powerful and distinctive voice of a young band at their peak that really scores. All the stereotyping and scorn the too-cool-for-school poseurs heaped upon the band’s collective head count for nought in the face of one of the very best albums of the last thirty years.

Gerard Way, far too frequently maligned as a self-indulgent, self-pitying emo poster boy, turns in a career-defining performance and the lyrics, all bitter asides, witty irony and biting cynicism; nestle snugly with moments of real heart, real beauty and a humanity that moves. Once described as The Dark Side of The Moon for the Tim Burton generation, The Black Parade is angry and celebratory, tender and bitter and very special indeed. Haters gonna hate, of course, but listen without prejudice, my friends. The Black Parade deserves nothing less. And so do you.