UFO: Lights Out

MAY 1977 (35 YEARS AGO)
UFO: Lights Out is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# allmusic 4/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Lights Out is the sixth studio album by UFO, released in May, 1977. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 28 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.
Although Euro-rockers UFO had built a solid fan base worldwide amongst metal heads with such releases as Phenomenon, Force It, and No Heavy Petting, the band had yet to issue a solid album from beginning to end. This changed with their 1977 release, Lights Out.  Propelled by multi-platinum record producer Ron Nevison (think The Who’s Quadrophenia as one example of many) and bingo, a 5/5 (IMO) is hatched.
As with the aforementioned titles, guitarist Michael Schenker’s six-string heroics are the real determining factor to UFO’s sound–look no further than his fluid soloing skills on the barnstorming title track. But you’ll find other metallic standouts throughout Lights Out, such as the album-opening good times anthem “Too Hot to Handle,” and the Zeppelin-esque “Electric Phase,” as well as more subdued fare such as “Try Me.” Lights Out remains one of UFO’s finest recordings. Though the album was overlooked in the U.S., it was hugely celebrated by their European and Japanese fanbase and critics alike.
REVIEW
by Matt Kantor, allmusic
Despite a few generic moments, Lights Out is probably the best studio document of what elevated UFO above the ’70s hard rock fray. Within a Euro-blues framework, the classic lineup that lasted from Phenomenon through Strangers in the Night incorporated challenging dynamics, epic balladry, and a more than occasional sensitivity. On Lights Out, all three of these traits come together in powerful fashion, most notably on the space rocker-cum-ballad “Love to Love,” where a ridiculously heavy intro gives way to flourishing poetics. “Gettin’ Ready” and an oddball Love cover, “Alone Again Or,” also showcase the band’s sensitive ambiguities, never compromising the group’s overarching hard edge. Not enough can be said either about UFO’s stand-out individual performances, particularly Phil Mogg’s street level vocals, which no doubt greatly influenced Joe Elliot and Paul Di’Anno. Then, of course, there’s the matter of Michael Schenker’s deservedly lauded lead guitar. Expressive and bluesy with a tone nearing perfection, even the more pedestrian tunes are made worthwhile due to a Schenker solo. Lights Out holds up well; its subtleties are worth mentioning because the band always make it a point to rock hard, and the playing is always on. Almost completely overlooked stateside, Lights Out is a lost gem.
TRACKS:
Side one
“Too Hot To Handle”(Pete Way, Phil Mogg) – 3:37
“Just Another Suicide” (Mogg) – 4:58
“Try Me” (Michael Schenker, Mogg) – 4:49
“Lights Out” (Schenker, Mogg, Andy Parker, Way) – 4:33
Side two
“Gettin’ Ready” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:46
“Alone Again Or” (Bryan MacLean) – 3:00
“Electric Phase” (Way, Mogg, Schenker) – 4:20
“Love to Love” (Schenker, Mogg) – 7:38
2008 CD reissue bonus tracks
“Lights Out” (live) – 5:14
“Gettin’ Ready” (live) – 4:03
“Love to Love” (live) – 7:15
“Try Me” (live) – 4:03

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Filed under Michael Schenker, Pete Way, Phil Mogg, UFO

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