UFO - Best Of A Decade
Having their origins way back in 1969, UFO came to international notoriety when, in 1973, Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker joined the band. During the Schenker era, the band released the classic albums 'Phenomenon', 'Force It' and 'No Heavy Pettin''. Following the arrival of keyboarder/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond, the band released two further albums, 'Lights Out' and 'Obsession' before the 1979 release of their live 'Strangers In The Night', which would ultimately see the end of that successful lineup. Lot's of changes in personnel have taken place since then but the band has always managed to keep that distinct 'UFO' sound throughout. 'Best Of A Decade' is a compilation of both studio and live recordings. The current lineup features original band members Phil Mogg (vocals) and Andy Parker (drums) who are joined by Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitars) and Vinnie Moore (guitars).
The album is a mixture of old (1970s) and new tracks performed/recorded in the 21st century. It's refreshing to see the contrast of the headier, earlier efforts compared to their more recent, and I think more subtle, approach to 'metal'. The old songs still sound fresh and the enthusiasm still is as evident as it always has been.
The voice of Mogg is unmistakable and it is this, coupled with the bouncy rock guitar riffs and catchy choruses that typify the sound of UFO. The sound has changed slightly over the years and the fresh breath of life that this lineup gives to the classic tracks such as 'Doctor, Doctor' should help them make themselves more accessible to a newer generation. Understandably, guitar wizard Vinnie Moore is in the spotlight as obvious comparisons will be made between his contributions and those made by Michael Schenker during his time(s) with the band. Vinnie comes up trumps; competent, expressive and melodic.
Held together by Paul Raymond and Andy Parker, the band as a whole is tight and energetic. They are capable of a lot and a lot has been missed on this album. Instead of live versions of old songs, I would much preferred more tracks penned during the current lineup's era. They could even have thrown in some live versions of these. That said, the album is a great blend of the old and the new, played by the new. Hopefully they continue to write and perform for a long time to come.