Hear No Evil Recordings [Release date 28.01.13]
Paul Raymond may be best known as the quiet one in UFO and perhaps surprisingly this is his sixth solo outing.
’Terms & Conditions Apply’ will appeal to UFO fans, but more broadly lovers of melodic hard rock. Overall, there is a fairly high quota of good tunes whilst lyrically showing an acute awareness of modern times - q.v. ‘Terms & Conditions’ and ‘C-List Celebrity’.
Raymond plays guitar and keys throughout and is aided by special guests Reuben Archer (Stampede) on ‘Love Is Blind’ and old sparring partner Michael Schenker (Reach Out (I’ll Be There)). Raymond’s fellow band member, guitarist Andy Simmons, is responsible for co-writes on the key standout tracks and this is a promising partnership for the future.
The opener ‘Born & Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll’ may set the tone, but it doesn’t impress as much as what follows, the rolling and infectious ‘End Of Life As We Know It’ and ‘Terms & Conditions’. Both tracks are true standouts.
Like the first track, ‘Deeper Shade Of Blue’ is more perfunctory rock and roll but always grounded in a commercial sensibility whilst the ballad ‘We Will Be Strong’ sounds like something that could have been knocked out by Freddie Mercury with Queen. The band are even brave enough to include an excellent instrumental ‘Whiskey Mac’.
The Schenker track – a cover of the Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’ – is a strange choice and lacks the primal ’oomph’ of the original, probably one to gloss over unless you’re a rabid fan of the German guitarist.
And to round things off, Raymond includes three bonus tracks which in different shape, form and title appeared on UFO albums but now appear as originally conceived.
If you take away the bonuses and the co-habits with Messrs Archer and Schenker (and one cover version at that) the album is far too economical, but as a complete package it passes muster. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Gig review (01.02.13)
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