Review Summary: The very best of post-Schenker UFO, the band found a new lease of life with this album.
After the major setback of losing their iconic lead guitarist Michael Schenker in 1978 UFO had struggled to find their rhythm again with his replacement Paul Chapman on board. The ex-Lone Star guitarist had worked with the band before on several occasions and was technically proficient but Schenker had been the main songwriter alongside vocalist Phil Mogg and the quality of the material had suffered greatly on their first release with their new line-up, 1980's 'No Place To Run'.
However, it seems that Chapman just needed more time to bed-in because this album is a huge improvement over its predecessor. The Chapman/Mogg writing partnership finally gels and the result is some really strong material. Opener 'Chains Chains' excites with it's electric main riff and the epic 'Long Gone' ranks up there as one of the best UFO songs of all time. 'Profession of Violence' is their best ballad since 'Love to Love' and features a great extended solo with impeccable feel and phrasing.
Overall there is a real confidence and surety about the band that was missing on the previous, and subsequent, releases and as a result even the weaker tracks such as 'Making Moves' come off sounding solid and convincing. There is a lot to like on this album : The pounding title track, the superbly crafted 'It's Killing Me' and the UK hit 'Lonely Heart' which is almost like a masterclass in how to write the perfect rock/pop single. All this is helped along by a powerful and open sounding production.
But the greatest accolade I can give 'The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent' is that it all seems to mesh together so well and is consistently entertaining from start to finish.
In the days before CD track skipping and pick'n'mix digital downloads it was one of those records that you were happy to listen to all the way through; and that was, and still is, a rare thing.