Angel Air SJPCD160.
Running time: 51m20s.
1Bonus track on the reissued CD
Mott's last album for Island is a belter. Needing an injection of craziness that was lacking on Wildlife they reluctantly joined forces with Guy Stevens once again and the result is a raw, heavy metal punk album six years ahead of its time.
Of the pre-Bowie albums, this is easily the fans' favourite. Like Mad Shadows, this was recorded live in the studio, and all the tracks were laid down in about four days. Live tapes from the time show just how well this album captured their live sound.
Opener Death May Be Your Santa Claus is frantic (check out the exuberant "Wooo!" at the end). Darkness Darkness features Mick Ralphs on vocals and is a guitar-driven rocker and noteworthy for not featuring Verden at all. The Journey is one of Ian's epic ballads and it is an interesting exercise to compare this to the alternate version recorded a few weeks earlier (included as a bonus track).
Sweet Angeline is another rocker, one that would remain in the live set to the end. Second Love is interesting - the first of Verden Allen's compositions Mott recorded and beautifully sung by Ian. The Moon Upstairs is another full-tilt rocker with is in part a message of defiance to Island: "We ain't bleeding you, we're feeding you, but you're to f***ing slow".
The LP closed with The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception, with is another end-of-session-jam tape reclamation job, this time as an earlier take of The Journey descends into complete chaos.
Bonus tracks here are the non-LP single Midnight Lady and an earlier version of The Journey (which is more acoustic than the LP version).
Sleeve notes as always are excellent, as is the sound quality. The CD also reproduces the original LP cover (albeit in miniature).Adrian Perkins