Review Summary: Hard charging 70's Hard Rock on par with Thin Lizzy
Michael Schenker is pretty much known for three things: being the dude who co-founded the Scorpions, encompassing the virtues of raging alcoholism and being a massive prick on-stage, and writing the totally badass song/album “Lights Out.” Schenker is not quite a legend in the annals of rock history, although he probably should be. Although prima-donna guitar players are a dime a dozen and most of them can shred when they feel like it, Schenker was a riff monster and laid down some totally face-melting solos. If more people outside of England had actually heard “Lights Out,” UFO and Schenker would be on the same household name recognition level as fellow badass Phil Lynott. This isn’t to say that UFO was as awesome as Thin Lizzy, but there is a strong correlation between their styles. Mainly, the style of big-time riffage, catchy choruses, and a slight pop feel that was still gritty enough to qualify as a manly grilling album, as opposed to KISS, who employed a similar style but had the misfortune of the fact that 64% of their fans menstruate on a monthly basis. Females don’t jam UFO or Thin Lizzy, and therein lays the quintessential difference.
“Lights Out” the song is an exercise in titanic guitar riffs and solos, and album opener “Too Hot To Handle” is about 97% as awesome. The remaining album is in a similar vein, with layers of pop and big time power ballads thrown in the mix. “Love To Love” is one of those 7 minute ballads that consistently changes between rocking out and getting sensitive, i.e. the blueprint for any memorable classic rock ballad. “Just Another Suicide,” “Getting Ready,” and “Electric Phase” are pretty much interchangeable, up-tempo riff rockers that could have easily landed on 70’s rock radio. On a record full of strengths that plays well to its genre, the only points of weakness can be found on “Try Me,” which is definitely not a manly power ballad and thus is grossly out of place, and “Alone Again Or,” which would be better suited on an early Journey album. Those tracks are the reason “Lights Out” is not quite up to par as “Jailbreak,” yet its strongest moments solidify it as an essential Hard Rock staple.