Album Reviews
Band: U.F.O.

Title: A Conspiracy Of Stars

Label: SPV Records

Admit it. Where would the British Rock Scene be without this bunch of loveable rogues, who have been one the most consistent, if not erratic bands over the last few decades! Plenty of personnel changes, spats, and down right tomfoolery on and off stage has only endured U.F.O. not only to us Brit fans, but fans throughout the rock world in general. Now in 2015, there seems to be a (dare I say) calmness about the band, and believe it or not, they are releasing their 22nd, yes, 22ND, album!! Where has the time gone? Mind you, don't ask the band as no doubt they won't remember most of the last 45 years!

Anyway, the album. 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' has producer Chris Tsangarides at the helm, and it shows as there seems to be a new surge of life to the band and their sound here, in fact there's a bit more swagger surrounding the lads, especially on the bluesy-rocker 'Devils In The Detail', where 'new boy' Vinnie Moore plays his heart out on some chipper solo bursts, whilst Phil Mogg comes out with a line that will have you scratching your head, wondering what a ... 'skanky toady' ... is!!?? Answers on a postcard please! Joining in with this vibe is the slide-intro'd 'Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun', a song that meanders along the path taken by the likes of Black Stone Cherry, it's Southern Bluesy twang wrapping itself around the song, Mogg really getting into stride as the track goes along. He sounds like a man who's really at ease with himself here, probably not even needing the breather he gets during another soaring six-stringed belter from Moore. More of this, please!

Of course, U.F.O. wouldn't be U.F.O. if they couldn't show that they can still rock like a bugger, so up steps the thumping 'Run Boy Run', the skins getting a right flaying by Andy Parker, Mogg as mean 'n moody as he has ever been, and naturally, the guitar cranked up to 11. What more would you want from this band? Well, how about the growling groover that is 'Messiah Of Love'? If this doesn't get your hips 'n butts twitching in tandem to the oh so funky beat, then I don't know what will. Rob De Luca's bass combined with the effortless, finger-poppin' solo of Moore make this the stand-out track on the album, very closely followed by the Purplesque, organ-led  'Rolling Rolling'. In fact, Paul Raymond's keys play a major part not only here, but in the cool as feck 'Precious Cargo',  another blues-tinted gem, and 'King Of The Hill', a roll-along mid-pacer that has Mogg giving his best .. 'yeah, right' ... attitude from start to finish.  He (Raymond) even manages to get the hairs on your arms to stand up with his ethereal intro on 'Sugar Cane', yet carefully sits back during the rest of the song, letting vocalist and guitarist come to the fore, but still having an important input when called upon, which is more often than not throughout.

There just had to be at least one song here that was on the same wavelength of the vastly underrated single 'Lonely Heart', and thankfully 'One And Only' comes up trumps for those who are still fans of that light-rocked gem from 1981. In fact, listening to Mogg's voice, he doesn't sound as if he's hardly aged since seeing the band (at that time)  perform the song on 'Top Of the Pops' way, way back then! No saxophone this time though, folks, just a  good old melodic  tune, harmonies, and... well, a band on top form! 'Nuff said.

After this 22nd album (yeah, really!), you've got to give U.F.O. major respect after all they've been through and still come out smelling of roses and alcohol, no doubt, but seriously, 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' is the perfect showcase for this band to show fans (and maybes non-fans) that no matter what gets thrown at them.  They can still rock with the very best, hell, even showing the young pups that are coming through the ranks how it should be done, AND to enjoy themselves along the way, but maybes not to the extreme  as U F O had done over the years!! Pete Way anyone?!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1. The Killing Kind 
2. Run Boy Run 
3. Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun 
4. Sugar Cane 
5. Devil's In The Detail 
6. Precious Cargo 
7. The Real Deal
8. One And Only 
9. Messiah Of Love 
10. Rolling Rolling 
11. King Of The Hill (Bonus Track) 

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