You Are Here
12/13/2004 - Review by: Ken Pierce
U.F.O. “You Are Here” SPV America 2004 reviewed by: Ken Pierce
Membership has changed in UFO over the years. While this band once had the provincial Michael Schenker on lead guitar, it now is the home for Vinnie Moore who’s style and speed are a welcome addition to the band. On the drums is Jason (son of the Legendary John) Bonham. I feel he plays some of his best drumming on the piece. Nice and solid throughout. Original members Pete Way (bass) and Paul Raymond (keyboards) comprise the rest of the lineup and touring structure. However the USA Fans would see Barry Sparks playing bass on the shows due to VISA issues that were faced by Way at the onset of the visit to these shores.
Numbers of note on the CD right away to me are “Black Cold Coffee” (fast and hard rock filled piece), “Daylight Goes To Town” (a good radio single if they tried one), “Mr Freeze” (nice work in it and feel). There is also a semi-power ballad called “Baby Blue”. Quite honestly as far as rock records go the whole piece is a constant when it comes to listening to it. There are no tracks that you will find yourself skipping to get to the next at all. I feel this is always a good thing. I recommend this piece for the die-hards and new fans as well.
UFO Homepage: http://www.ufo-music.info/
5/28/2004 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
UFO: You Are Here (Steamhammer/ SPV, 2004) reviewed by: Vinaya Saksena
Clearly, something had to change, and unfortunately, it was determined that Michael Schenker and the rest of the band could no longer work together. Fortunately, however, what could have been a final crushing blow to UFO turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. Joined by reputed American shredder Vinny Moore and drummer Jason Bonham (John's son), long-time members Phil Mogg, Pete Way and recently reinstated keyboardist/ rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond have finally recaptured the classic UFO spark that had been lacking on their last two studio albums (both made in Raymond's absence).
After years of drift and decline, Mogg and Co. seem to be well aware that You Are Here could be their last chance to prove that they are still a viable act; and they don't waste a moment in re-establishing their credibility. "Daylight Goes To Town" welcomes the listener like an old friend at a surprise party. "Black Cold Coffee" proves it's no fluke, recalling the progressive riff genius of Schenker-era classics like "Reasons Love" and "This Kids." And against all odds, the quality levels established on these two fine tracks rarely wanes at all.
You Are Here, in fact, sounds like the record UFO were trying to make with Covenant and Sharks, but couldn't quite muster until now. Yes, unlike those albums, which often felt more like a recording project, this sounds like the work of a happily unified band. The pleasures are plentiful, with tracks like “Jello Man” and “Mr. Freeze” showing a newfound maturity to the band’s heavier side, while “Slipping Away” and “Baby Blue” are wistful and poignant. The rest of the album runs the gamut between straightforward, carefree, upbeat rockers and slightly moodier, more adventurous and experimental numbers. (Note: At least two tracks feature riffs and progressions lifted from Vinny Moore’s solo albums.) Victory’s Tommy Newton provides excellent, hi-fidelity production; clean, clear and sonically rich to match the band’s rejuvenated songwriting skills. And while he is no Michael Schenker, Mr. Moore proves himself more than up to the task of embellishing and coloring the songs, while Jason Bonham fits in marvelously, creating effortless and rock solid grooves that fit the band’s sound superbly.
Who’d have thought it? UFO have seen considerable ups and downs in recent years, but You Are Here shows them hitting their stride once again. In fact, it could be argued that the split with Schenker produced two supremely cool bands instead of one. I recently saw Schenker play a superb set to a packed club with his latest incarnation of MSG, and UFO appeared ready to follow suit with a US tour until encountering visa problems. Let’s hope they can resolve the matter soon. With such a strong album in tow, the prospect of a UFO tour seems promising. And that’s something we haven’t been able to say with such confidence in years.
--Vinaya Saksena 05.28.04
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