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: Phil’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 (sometimes I wish people would waste their time and energy on other things – this one is just being a smartass…) and colorful background. Plus her then boyfriend Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Loki help me – this one is even more colorful, just check out the press. 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, a really juicy cover that, a real find.
And Force It also delivered this much wanted gust of energy and passion!
THIS is what we were missing somehow before. Finally UFO made use of some of the oomph existing between themselves. Built some innovation into their song writing 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.
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. 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, replaced by scratchy Hard Rock, sometimes getting into Heavy Metal. 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. Not surprisingly 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 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 not find fillers in there that really deserve this name or any other terrors that were present in former albums, albeit that some of those will be there again in future productions. The compression gets pretty bad in some parts of Force It with Phil’s voice blending a tad too much in with the background, kind of metally in sound (I am listening to the 2008 remastered version of Force It – 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!
Not quite reaching Lights Out stage yet, but 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.
Oh, and don’t forget to look at the UFO Top 10 Songs list as well.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Chrysalis Records | Web: Official Site