HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

UFO - Showtime

Standards have gone way up for DVDs recently. For example, there's always bloody two discs now. Having seen UFO's woeful merch table in '03, and hearing the stories about a thousand flavours of chaos, I wasn't expecting much from Showtime. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. First off, Showtime looks great, in one of those spiffy hardcase jewel cases, then the pro graphics, then the l'il booklet, which offers full credits, a biog and some photos. Into the DVD and the anchor is a far more than inspiring live gig, where Phil's captivating stage presence commands, Pete, not the ganglion of old. Looking buff and singing sonorous like a large flightless bird, Phil is both a technician and rich of tone and timbre. The sound is stellar, and most notably, it is Jason Bonham that sends this over the top. His fills are just busy enough, his grooves unassailable. Additionally, there is a huge amount of interview footage - the prospective gay manager, Knowles and the hooker, and Jason on dad stories are all priceless. As well, there's an astonishing, magical collection of obscure songs run through live in a studio setting, Pack It Up full of new detail, Slipping Away proving its dark horse worth, Love To Love even getting the string quartet treatment. A bunch of humour ensues as well, Pete wry and ironic as usual, charming really, and Jason the card, as the band sets up for shows, shuffles through airports, grumbling good-naturedly about towing their own luggage. Kate, keeper of the UFO flame, can be seen in two spots, as can manager and producer, who speak German, although subtitles are helpfully provided. This is a damn near perfect DVD, and at 200 minutes wide, a bloody good look into this legendary band. Pity though, after seeing Jason, what with his singing and immensely enjoyable, rock dependable drumming, not to mention his antics and wit, I'm of mixed feelings hearing Andy Parker is back in the band. I mean, great and all, but Jason's got a bunch of strengths that would have come in handy on the next studio record.
Rating 10

Lullacry - Vol. 4
(Spinefarm/Century Media)

For some reason, Lullacry's first with Tanja (as opposed to the departed Tanya), Crucify My Heart from '03, took me like those damn ignored Sinergy records. The band's second, Be My God from '01 was no slouch either. Now back with a second fronted by the seductive twang of Tanja, Lullacry go for a wider, less oppressive, more inclusive baked batch of cookies, yet with production that is harsh and almost Sunlight Studios at the gut-low mid-bottom band of the spectrum. A bit smart for its britches, there's pop here, goth, all sorts of radio-friendly drop-outs to quiet verses, but then huge, stone-carved guitar flankings, all too infrequently, given their wily Sweden '85 metal melodies. Alas, egad and drats, Vol. 4's like a death 'n' roll No Doubt record and I'm kinda bummed about that.
Rating 6.5

Hard Reviews Page 4