UFO – “A Conspiracy Of Stars” (Steamhammer / SPV)
‘…my shoes speak Italian style, I’ve known fashion for a long, long time..’. After a colossal 45 years in the music business, long standing 70s classic rockers UFO have just released their 22nd studio album! Now in their 60s, when most bands are contemplating retirement, these guys are actually enjoying a resurgence that has seen them return to touring and being a full time band still playing their same brand of blues tinged hard rock – and still with most of their classic line-up of Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Paul Raymond! Simply unmistakeable in his laid back, almost reflective style, Mogg’s vocals are the defining moment of UFO’s sound, remaining solid and consistent which is an achievement in itself as far as bands careers go. Despite being permanent member of the group since 2003, I’ve never really appreciated Vinnie Moore coming from both the Schenker and ‘Tonka’ Chapman eras of the band, however, he has truly written his own chapter in UFO’s history no better exemplified than on this album. From his truly brilliant guitar work that favors the band’s US leaning sound to his stylish solos and just downright sassy street blues work, the fact that the majority of the material was composed by him speaks bounds about the man. When combined with the verbal aesthetics of Mogg’s lyrics, the genius of UFO can once more be heard on hard rockers like ‘Run Boy Run’ with Andy Parker’s thumping drums threatening to implode my own aging ear drums, while ‘Devil’s In The Detail’ just cruises along with that UFO groove in ever such cool style, not in the least thanks to Moore’s teasing guitar breaks contrastingly superbly with its deep, hard rock riff. But the real proof comes in the aptly titled ‘The Real Deal’, which is classic UFO all the way back, from Mogg’s soulful vocals right down to the hammond organ and of course, Moore’s own Schenker like warbling that unleashes a flood of memories to this old rocker! Produced by none other than living legend Chris Tsangarides – who was a 14-year-old trainee at a recording studio when UFO recorded their debut album in 1970 – this album is truly a conspiracy of stars that fans old and new can be in awe of once more from this pillar of classic rock.