UFO - You Are Here
Hard Rock
12 songs (53'00)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
British hard rock legends U.F.O. are back with a new album. After the much publicized stormy relationship of Pete Way and Phil Mogg with guitarist Michael Schenker that has existed for years, it was either pack in the whole project and finally lay the band to rest or bring in some fresh blood to give U.F.O. a shot in the arm. I'm glad they chose to continue as there's still lots of great music left in this band even after over 30 years in existence. The Sharks album from a couple of years ago had some great songs but I felt Michaels's lead playing was sloppy and very substandard from what he is capable of doing. Deciding to finally sever ties with U.F.O. and allowing them to continue using the name, Michael is now continuing with his solo work and has reformed the Michael Schenker Group (MSG). Also gone from the band is drummer Aynsley Dunbar who also performed on the Sharks album. Along with veteran band members Phil Mogg (vocals), Pete Way (bass) and Paul Raymond (guitar, keyboards), the new U.F.O. line-up features guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore and Jason Bonham (Led Zep's John Bonham's son) on drums.

This has to be the first Schenker-free U.F.O. album that really comes close to the classic U.F.O. sound of the 70's. The albums they released in the 80's and early 90's without Michael had some great songs but the guitar playing was too stripped down and simple, resulting in a lack of that extra spark that his playing gave to their music. Such is not the case with the band's newest album, You Are Here. Vinnie Moore, being a student of Michael's playing early in his development as a guitarist, often played some of Michael's solos for auditions etc. and was a huge fan of his. Not only does do a fantastic job on this new album, his style of adding overdubbed lead fills and ripping melodic solos is pure Michael Schenker and except for a few moments on this album, it's really hard to tell it's not Michael playing. In fact, this album sounds more like classic Schenker-era U.F.O. than the last couple of albums that actually had Michael Schenker on them.

The album begins with a great track, Daylight Goes To Town and uses a basic and simple AC/DC style major chord riff with solid power drumming as a vehicle for Phil Mogg to work his very soulful and charismatic vocal style. Black Cold Coffee has a very Led Zeppelin style of fast boogie riffing and some soaring leads by Vinnie. The Zeppelin style surfaces on a few tracks namely Jelloman with it's booming riffs and the typical Bonham style of drumming. For a bit of fun and as a nod to that influence, they launch into a few bars of the fast part in Zeppelin's In My Time Of Dying at the end of the track. The Wild One, a very spirited mid-tempo track with great overdubbed lead fills has some amazing vocal work from Phil and overall, it's one of the best songs they've done in many years. The melody lines, especially when done acoustically near the end of the track really sound similar to Bad Company's Seagull from their debut album. Slipping Away, a semi-acoustic track with a classic heavy guitar/acoustic guitar blend that was a staple of their 70's sound, sees Phil at his soulful and emotional best. Sympathy uses a blend of quieter and heavy guitar parts and again has a great classic sound with a solid chorus and clear and emotional lead playing by Vinnie. Baby Blue sees Phil again delivering a top notch vocal and is a blend of acoustic and heavy guitar riffs that makes me wonder if Vinnie is a fan of Canada's Triumph. The opening acoustic guitar passage is almost identical to parts of Triumph's Hold On from their Just A Game album from the 70's.

The rest of the album is filled with solid tracks in true U.F.O. fashion and with quality of the songs, there's really no filler tracks here. I think this is the best album they've done since the awesome Walk On Water album in 1995. Vinnie Moore sounds more like classic Michael Schenker with his riffing and lead guitar than Michael himself does nowadays. His playing is amazing and he doesn't go overboard with flashy technical leads and unnecessary showing off. Jason Bonham's drum style adds lots of power and punch to their sound and although there's always been a slight Zeppelin influence to their sound, it's even stronger now with Jason's contributions to the band. With the last several U.F.O. albums, due to the on again off again relationship of the band with Michael Schenker, the band's future seemed to be constantly in question. With a new stable line-up and 2 very talented additions to the band, the future, for the first time in ages, looks very bright for U.F.O. With albums like this being the result of a new found chemistry and infusion of new ideas, U.F.O. fans can rejoice in the fact that it looks like this band is going to continue delivering great music for many years to come.....

Killing Songs :
Daylight Goes To Town, The Wild One, Slipping Away, Sympathy, Jelloman and Baby Blue
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Jeff quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by UFO that we have reviewed:
UFO - Sharks reviewed by Marty and quoted 79 / 100
UFO - Covenant reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 / 100
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