Review Summary: A surprisingly predictable affair.
"Firefly" was Uriah Heep's 10th studio album and it was released in February 1977. Three months before, "High and Mighty" had been released and a bunch of problems attacked relentlessly the band. The album was shattered by the critical press and the fans, John Wetton had decided to leave and the legendary frontman, David Byron, had been fired, due to serious internal issues. As soon as John Wetton left the band, Trevor Bolder was hired as the new bassist. Auditions were made and John Lawton became the band's new singer. Would he be able to replace David Byron, who had been a key member in the success of the band? Would the fans appreciate and accept his arrival?
The band was in disarray at that time and they tried to overcome their issues and conflicts. The members of the band contacted Gerry Bron, who had not produced "High and Mighty". Gerry's absence was obvious and the band got back to him. It was a smart move. Gerry had a difficult task in his hands, though: he had to get the guys focused and motivated and he had to rescue Uriah Heep's true identity, but they had to be creative and innovating. Otherwise, they'd just be a boring band to listen and the fans would lose total interest in them. Despite all the difficulties, "Firefly" was released and it received mixed opinions. To some of the fans, "Firefly" was way better than "High and Mighty", which was considered a flop. Some say it's a little light and poppy.
The album's first two songs are a little shaky and inconsistent. With some improvements and arrangements, they could be a lot better. "The Hanging Tree" is somewhat strengthless for an opener. Ken Hensley's organ riff is a little weird, but as the song goes on, it gets slightly better. John Lawton showcases his awesome voice. He's not as good as David Byron, who would always be hard to beat, but he is still an incredible singer. "Been Away Too Long" is slightly better than "The Hanging Tree". Mick Box's good guitar riff blends in perfectly with Ken's organ. That combination is so smooth and peaceful. The song's lyrics are perfect for the song's pace. It's a good song, but it's not amazingly impressive.
That can be a problem with "Firefly". There aren't awful songs, but it's missing an epic song that will be stored in our hearts forever --sorry for the poetry-- "Firefly" is solid, but it doesn't have a true highlight. There are, though, great musical moments throughout the album. "Who Needs Me" and "Do You Know" have great and groovy guitar and organ riffs. The songs can be thrilling without being brilliant. In this album, the riffage is rather acceptable. The musicianship seems to be back. The last three songs of "Firefly" are somewhat disappointing for a simple reason. They're average in isolation. But in this context, they seem so similar and they can easily be repetitive and annoying...
The best song of the album is "Wise Man". It is a peaceful, guitar-driven ballad that fits like a glove. It's melodic but it's not cheesy at all. The musicianship is amazing and the lyrics are inspiring. The song just carries you into a new world. It's an awesome song, but it just needed that missing piece that would "complete" the song.
Overall, "Firefly" is easy to listen to. It has good musical moments and the members of the band seems to be locked-in. Considering "High and Mighty", "Firefly" represented an improvement. It was nowhere near "Look at Yourself" or "Demons and Wizards" but it could be a sign of better things to come. Trevor Bolder replaced John Wetton with ambition and distinction. John Lawton had/has an incredible voice, and the fans accepted his arrival. They were back on their feet. They had to be smart now...
Been Away Too Long
Who Needs Me