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UFO release okay, but not as good as past glories


Chrysalis Records: 1986

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This review first appeared in the September, 1986 issue of Loud and Clear magazine.

There was a time when UFO was one of the most innovative metal acts around, hat with Michael Schenker's guitar tricks and vocalist Phil Mogg's orchestra arrangements.

Shortly after Schenker's departure following "Obsession," though, the quality of UFO's music began a serious downhill slide. "No Place To Run" was fair, but "The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent" was rancid; "Mechanix" and "Making Contact" weren't much better.

Bassist and co-founder Pete Way split after "Mechanix" to found Fastway and then Waysted shortly thereafter, and once Mogg suffered a nervous breakdown during a European tour, UFO became defunct.

Schenker's replacement, Paul Chapman, and original drummer Andy Chapman are now involved in a project of their own, so Mogg, apparently recovered, has herded a collection of mostly no-names together and issued a new album under the nomer of UFO.

Veteran Paul Raymond has also returned from journeys with the Michael Schenker Group and Waysted and lends a hand with Mogg's latest project.

"Misdemeanor" is actually a decent album in spite of all the factors it has working against it. Mogg turns in a better performance than he has since "Obsession," and apparently established a good songwriting rapport with new bassist Paul Gray.

The one item that had been most missing on UFO's previous three albums had been good songs, and those are back now in quantity.

"This Time" is as good as any song UFO has ever done, and in the same vein in which UFO made its reputation: catchy melody, strong guitar solos, and Mogg's vocals.

Guitarist Atomic Tommy M is hardly in the same league with Schenker or Chapman, but he holds up well enough, and the quality songwriting easily covers up any deficiencies of musicianship.