The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




MARCH 3 2014



To some of us out here UFO will always hold a special place in our hearts. As the great people’s rock band of the late 70’s and early 80’s they were peerless, but internal machinations and  the abuse of various substances progressively painted them into a corner that only their music could save them from. If you look at their body of work from ’73 to ’78 its hard to imagine a better purveyor of gritty Hard Rock, and despite various line-up changes and infighting through the early 80’s they still managed to emerge ahead of the pack. UFO was also the first Rock band I ever saw live and believe me on that stage they had few peers when they could hold it together.

Since 2004’s ‘You Are Here’ the band has been consistent and relatively stable and whilst they have never managed to capture their previous heights they have still maintained that unmistakable sound.  ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’ is their fifth album since 2004 and it sees the band in fine fettle.

Opening with ‘The Killing Kind’ the UFO 2015 vintage is a definite good year, and in the band’s 46th year that is a feat in itself.  What you get from the off is real rock and roll – a persistent riff and Mogg’s distinctive vocals and phrasing, with a distinctively laid back hook that gives you the feeling that something special is in store.
‘Run Boy Run’ adds more than a little grunt to the mix and as a change of pace ‘Ballad of the Left Hand Gun’ shows that  UFO still has that capacity to throw the old curve-ball with a nice bluesy swagger and smoky bar-room aesthetic, as Mogg’s lyrics swirl above you in that very smoke. Mixed by the more than capable Chris Tsangarides we’re also in very safe hands sonically as he manages to make ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’ both thoroughly recognisable and yet surprisingly palatable to younger listeners not privy to the UFO legacy.

‘Sugar Cane’ swaggers in on the back of keys and an airy bluesy guitar and delivers a nice low key slice of modern-day UFO awash with sweet melody; as a contrast ‘Devil’s In the Detail’ is all about the melody and despite the similar mid-tempo dynamics it’s all about the drive.

‘Precious Cargo’ stands out in so many ways from Mogg’s wonderful sublime yet down-to-earth lyric to the almost early-Whitesnake bluesy pace and ethereal guitar: 22 studio albums in UFO still stand proud. ‘The Real Deal’ that follows adds a pure classic rock riff to the mix that wraps nicely around the vocal; ‘One and Only’ adds a little more vigour before falling back into distinctive UFO territory – a mix of melody and subdued charm.
The three tracks that close the album are equally as formidable: ‘Messiah of Love’ slides in on a hypnotic riff and a growl that again references the blues and builds into a solid rocker; whilst ‘Rollin’ Rollin’ weighs in as a five-minute-plus minor classic. Wrapping it all up ‘King of the Hill’ just cements a great album with a  succinct appendix distilled from the very essence of the album. It may be brief but it’s as memorable as anything here and a great way to close proceedings.

Aside from Mogg’s wonderful lyrical touches this really sounds like Vinnie Moore’s album – throughout he’s given full reign to go for broke and to be honest he wins the day; UFO may well have had more incendiary guitarists in the past but here he shows that he can be himself and nod to the bands history simultaneously. This is one that will surprise many new listeners and keep the faithful happy until those tour dates kick in and you see UFO in their pomp.

Highly recommended, and not just for the faithful.



by Mark Rockpit