Aha! It is possible after all! Phil Mogg kicking it up a notch in UFO‘s 4th studio album Force It.
And I love it.
Mogg‘s delivery as a vocalist on the last album Phenomenon was okay, but not really exciting. And here we get to hear a new spiced-up version, basically a new version of Phil.
So, it looks like the Force It album cover seemingly with two teenagers having a go at themselves in the most complicated bathroom of the world is an omen, too. With leering bathroom appliances no less – the lechers.
By the way, the US cover used a ghost picture of the couple, a see-through version of it. They thought that this picture was too racy to be consumed by the dumb public. Danger of perverting the mean streets of the US of A. Puritan idiots at work, I kid you not.
The performers are Cosey Fanni Tutti of the questionable stage name and the colorful background. Plus her then-boyfriend Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Sigh, sometimes I wish people would waste their time and energy on other things than outlandish stage names, these two are just smartasses. And they weren’t teenagers anymore – by the way – when this photo was shot. So be gone, you moralists.
Both were part of Throbbing Gristle later, which somewhat noisily dissolved in 1981, just to be revived in the early 2000s until something like 2010 or so. The British didn’t like them, so they escaped to the puritans in the US! The perfect dafuq moment to commiserate with the moralists. Not sure of THAT choice. So, we got ourselves a really juicy cover. One that almost garnered its very own review.
But Force It also delivered this much-wanted gust of energy and passion! And THIS is what we were missing somehow before. Finally, UFO made use of some of the power existing within that band. They also managed to build some innovation into their songwriting skills and started the turbo to speed things up.
Again, they could have done more, but this is like day and night compared to the former delivery. The only slow rock ballad being High Flyer, which graces us with a back-from-the-future feeling. Not bad, but by far not as good as the passionate Belladonna on No Heavy Petting. All other tracks are on the rocky side. I love it.
And what about the music? In Phenomenon, one had the impression that someone was holding the horses. But here in Force It, the UFO locomotive leaves the station at a pretty good speed with Let it Roll – the lead track. Already in this first song, Michael Schenker starts off with a pretty good solo. He actually takes a more dominating role in Force It than in its predecessor, and rightly so.
Now, don’t get me wrong: This is not your usual take-over, but subtle interjections of riffs, solos, and snippets of sound. Very well and professionally done, too.
Shoot Shoot – track # 2 – is of the same vein. Hard Rock at its best, neat riffs – you name it. Albeit a bit repetitive and bordering on the boring at times.
Gone are the Space and Blues Rock interludes that still were prevalent in the former album. Instead, UFO serve loads of scratchy Hard Rock with a few Heavy Metal scraps thrown in for good measure.
Force It presents itself as stripped bare of any unnecessary sounds. Just lead guitar, bass, drums – and some very scarce work on the keyboard played by Chick Churchill (yes, this is really his name…), then from Ten Years After. Unsurprisingly so, as Leo Lyons produced the album – the bass player of the same band.
However, in This Kid’s the spacey tune reemerged for a short while. Just to make room for another cool solo from Schenker‘s artistic loins. This 6+ minutes track gorges with riffs and is a fitting final track to an already good album.
And there is the holy Mother Mary, very interesting that one, for the reason that some of that sounds somewhat like Led Zeppelin with a wisp of Jethro Tull in it. The latter also being a major force during these years. I daresay they hunted in some other bands’ backyards for that track.
You will find no fillers that really deserve this name or any other terrors that were present in former albums. The compression gets pretty bad in some parts of Force It, though. Phil’s voice blends a tad too much in with the background, kind of metallic in sound (I am listening to the 2008 remastered version on MP3).
Another negative: The tracks on Force It seem to follow some ‘keep it short for the audience’ rule. Not quite for all, but it shows. This is also visible in other records, but not as blatantly as that.
Force It is another building block on the road to Obsession! It won’t quite reach Lights Out stage, but the effort is a real boost in terms of speed and energy, judging by their last album. Michael Schenker became a major pillar of UFO in no time and started to put his stamp on Force It.
Whilst still a bit repetitive and lacking in creativity, this album is a rocky step up the ladder of rock-hard fame. It has all these things – speed, distorted guitars, fast rock rhythms, and lyrics to match the style – that are necessary to make a good Hard Rock album worthwhile your time to enjoy.
So, well done, and again an album to be recommended for all you UFO fans out there.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Chrysalis Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: July 1975