Monday, September 11, 2006


TOMMY BOLIN `Whips and Roses II' SPV (2006)

The second volume featuring unreleased tracks and alternate takes from the `Teaser' album. You can only wonder what he would have produced had he lived (I for one would loved to have seen him carry on with Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale) after listening to this album and the first volume. There are two good rockers on here
namely `The Grind' and `Sooner Or Later', whilst the rest of the album highlights Bolin's fusion style of playing. The fourteen minute `Bagitblues Deluxe' best illustrates his style of playing and is a delight to hear. As with many unreleased tracks a few have poor sound quality and the live `Some People Call Me' is really for completists only as the crowd noise spoils the sound overall.
Another lovingly collated album making a fitting tribute to a gifted guitarist and one who sadly died way too young.

UFO `The Monkey Puzzle' SPV (2006)

I will be honest and say that the last few albums by this band have had a couple of good tunes but the albums for the main have not had me rushing back to play them again. However, their last album `You Are Here' was a definite improvement and with Andy Parker back at the drum stool this new album continues the band's
renaissance. Guitarist Vinnie Moore seems to be the spark in the band that sets this album apart from the past few albums as his playing fits the band's classic sound like a glove yet he does have odd moments where he adds his own stylings such as `Kingston Town'.
Phil Mogg is in fine voice and lyrically the band delved into familiar territory like drinking (`Drink Too Much') and a wry look at life on `Rolling Man'. Stand out track has to be `Black and Blue' which I am sure will go down a storm when played live. Being picky the album could have done with a real knock `em dead ballad and `Down By the River' is a filler being brutally honest.
Possibly the strongest UFO line-up for many a year and this album won't disappoint their fans.

TALISMAN `Seven' Frontiers (2006)

Since the band's last studio album `Cats & Dogs' the members of Talisman have been far from idle with Marcel Jacobs and Jamie Borger popping up on this year's rather good new album by Last Autumn's Dream (Borger is also involved in the Treat reunion), guitarist Fredrik Akesson has been touring with Arch Enemy and of course Jeff Scott Soto is currently filling in for Steve Augeri as Journey's
vocalist plus being part of Soul SirkUS. With all of this activity it is amazing they found time to record this album!
Musically it carries on from where `Cats & Dogs' left off with possibly a heavier edge overall particularly in the guitars, grab a listen to openers `Falling' and `Nowhere Fast' for proof. There are some tracks on here that are instant hits with your ears like `Shed A Tear Goodbye' and `Back 2 The Feeling', which sees the band almost in pop rock territory. Elsewhere there is a ballad and a couple of tunes take the funk rock groove that JSS does more on in his solo work. JSS sings his best as usual although his little `raps' in a couple of tunes can get tiresome after repeated listens.
Certainly this album will delight fans of the band but it is a couple of songs short of being as strong as JSS last solo album or the last Talisman album.

TYPE O NEGATIVE `Best Of' Roadrunner (2006) Roadrunner Records

This `Best Of' is a great place to start for anyone new to the band like me. Fronted by man mountain Peter Steele, the band take off where Sisters of Mercy left of in the late 80's. Yes it is very heavy goth tinged metal/rock, none more so than the cracking tune `Christian Woman', that features sublime harmony vocals with deep, doomy vocals from Steele. Mind you with the backing vocals
credited to Bensonhoist Lesbian Choir you known this band are not run of the mill! `Love You To Death' is classic goth rock and `I Don't Wanna Be Me' shows the band have some tongue in cheek humour amongst the bleak lyrics. Couple of interesting covers on here as well in Neil Young's `Cinnamon Girl', which is slowed down to a grinding riff, whilst you will never hear such an off the wall
rendition of Purple's `Highway Star' that's for sure!

A very worthy introduction to a fine band who will delight goth metal fans and those who like melodic yet doom laden music.

ELO remasters Sony BMG (2006) ELO website

Delayed from earlier this year the first batch of remasters are finally here! Main man Jeff Lynne has been heavily involved both in the remastering and adding sleeve notes to each of the three albums. Along with Lynne's comments you also get very informative sleeve notes from ELO archivist Rob Caiger along with many previously
unseen photos. After the band's first tow more experimental/progressive albums
ELO's next album was 1973's `On the Third Day' (***1/2), which although it kept some progressive leanings like `Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe', Lynne was well on his way to penning the melodic classics the band became famous for like `Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' and `Showdown'. Five bonus tracks on here including two alternate versions of `Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' and for collectors Marc Bolan plays
guitar on four of these tracks. Not an album for the fan of the classic ELO sound but highly recommended for the ELO fanatic!

`Elderado' came next, which has already been release a few years ago with bonus tracks, so next up is 1975' `Face The Music' (****). Two big hits on this album were `Evil Woman' and `Strange Magic', the latter on the best ELO tracks in my humble opinion. Other treats on here include ELO meets punk on `Poker' (well it is very fast paced!), the blissful `Waterfall' and the instrumental mix
of `Waterfall', one of the four bonus tracks on this CD.

`A New World Record' (*****) released back in 1976 marks the
first of ELO's five star releases in my book (next up were `Out of the Blue', `Discovery' and `Time'). From the opening `Tightrope' and its strings overload through to the mellow refrains of the closing track `Shangri-La' there is not one filler track. Three big hit singles of this album - `Rockaria!', `Livin' Thing' and `Telephone Line'. Another good rock track was the reworking of the Move song `Do Ya' – a real classic guitar riff on this one. Bonus wise there are six tracks on here including `Surrender', a nice short pop ditty which strangely hasn't made it onto an album before appearing here.

These three re-releases are all a ELO fan could ask for and they
are well worth adding to your CD collection. Can't wait for `Out of
the Blue'…


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