UFO are one of the last true original rock bands left. And on this — their latest — Phil Mogg’s voice is as classic and unmistakable as any you’re likely to hear…Michael Schnenker’s guitar is as punchy and riff-laden as ever….Pete Way looks and sounds the same as he did 10-15 years ago…and the only relative “newcomer” is drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who manages to kick some serious behind to give each song a crispness that a less accomplished drummer might have left to chance.I agree with previous reviewers. Sharks isn’t as good as Walk On Water, but it’s miles ahead of Covenant.The first song (“Outlaw Man”) is a catchy rocker that kicks off the CD beautifully…and the riffs just keep on coming after that. Phil really sounds good. And Schenker (although he looks like Brad Pitt of late, or a throwback to ZZ Top’s heyday in the ’70s) delivers the goods. “Shadow Dancer” (track 5) sounds like a riff from Walk On Water, but it’s still just different enough to be considered original.”Someone’s Gonna Have to Pay” is a George Thoroughgood-like blues-based rocker that bumps and grinds its way along to its ringing cymbal crash ending…and quickly seques into “Sea of Faith,” the CD’s most different sounding song. Schenker’s opening guitar riff sounds more like alternative rock than classic rock, but the intensity kicks in momentarily and the song becomes trademark UFO.”Fighting Man” (track is perfect UFO swagger and bluster. The riff sounds like it would have fit well on Obsession, though Mogg’s voice is tucked squarely into Walk on Water-era UFO. Not a bad juxtaposition, just noticable.”Perfect View” begins with an almost Ted Nugent-like ferocity…leading to “Crossing Over” and the ballad-like “Hawaii,” a Schenker composition that closes the album on a ’60s-era surf-guitar note. A strange, short ending, but a very good CD overall.Fans of UFO won’t be disappointed with Sharks. I wasn’t.
Sharks comes two decades after UFO’s last meaningful hit, at a time when you’d think UFO would call it a day and raise a glass to the late ’70s, when Lights Out and Obsession were huge and Strangers in the Night was being heralded as a landmark live album. But rock & roll junkies to a man, they simply cannot let it lie. And thank goodness for that, because Sharks is far from the pub-metal indulgence one might expect. Reuniting stalwarts Phil Mogg and Pete Way with old cohort Michael Schenker, as well as drum wizard Aynsley Dunbar, the album is witty, unruly, and possessed of a renegade spirit sorely lacking in most nu-metallers (a point raised by Mogg during ”Someone’s Gonna Have to Pay”). ”Fighting Man” is a hard-stomping blues-rock, ”Dead Man Walking” recalls Van Halen’s take on ”You Really Got Me,” while ”Outlaw Man” is a history-minded self-justification, complete with Schenker pyrotechnics and hilariously brazen lyrics (”I’m a rocker / I’m one big bone”). Best of all, though, is ”Serenity.” With its verses like an Old Testament rant and a beautiful chorus, it ranks with UFO’s best work. –Dominic Wills
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In almost a full return of the classic 70’s lineup, they release “Sharks” with some disappointment for this critic. I am a lover of 70’s hard rock, and in my opinion UFO was one of the Top 3 bands of that time, if not #1. I love this band’s writing style, vocals, and incredible musicianship. So, I come to expect a lot from them…maybe too much. This record sounds like a classic hard rock band from the 70’s that is still very talented, but has just run out of ideas. I don’t expect these bands to reinvent themselves each time out, but I do expect the material to sound fresh. We get a fresh sound on about half this record, the other half just sounds like it’s going through the motions. A lot of the problem for these older bands, I believe, comes in the production department. Is it possible that there are not enough “effects” on the record? I am not a fan of over-production and silly effects taking away from the musicianship on a recording, but a few “cool” effects now and then might juice things up a bit. Make a cymbal jump out at the listener, pump up one particular instrument on a song here and there, how about some cool wind sounds, make a guitar solo zip through a phase shifter…I mean you got Michael Schenker for Chrissakes!!! You don’t have to be cliched when you do some of this stuff. Just a touch here or there might just add a much needed spark here. This is not a badly produced record, it’s just not anything to rave about. It’s a little too simple for a band that’s been doing it this long, they need to freshen up the sound a bit in the production end of things. Now to really confuse all of you, I don’t dislike the record! I just don’t feel that it’s enough for what I know this band is capable of. When you see the lineup as Phil Mogg, Michael Schenker, Pete Way, and the added extra Aynsley Dunbar of all people, you come to expect perfection. This is typical UFO writing, with the classic rock formula of, verse-chorus-verse-SCHENKER SOLO-chorus-fade out, that was so successful for them throughout their entire career. I love this formula. It works. It’s just that the Schenker solo is just a little more tame, and the chorus’s sound a bit flat at times, both of which could be greatly improved with some knob turning. All in all, the songs are decent UFO songs. When you hear “Outlaw Man” open up the album, any UFO fan will be excited and anxious to hear the rest. As you proceed to the second track, “Quicksilver Rider”, the excitement should still be high, as this is another solid song. Track 3 is slightly weaker, and track 4 a little more so, etc. I really feel that it sounds less impressive as you go because of the writing in small part, yes, but the lack of some kind of “spark” is really what keeps this uninteresting. Some of the key songs here are: “Outlaw Man” “Quicksilver Rider” “Shadow Dancer”probably the best track on the album, “Someone’s Gonna Have To Pay” “Perfect View” “Crossing Over” OK, I love this band. I just want to love this album…but, I don’t. I do like it. Like everything else I seem to grab these days, it is an average outing.OVERALL RATING: 5 (1-10 scale)For more Dr. Music reviews, visit http://www.new-sounds.com/DrMusic
In a perfect world U.F.O. would have been huge, they were and are truely, one of the great “lost” gems of the last 25 years. With “Sharks” U.F.O. have made a watershed album, yet again. It blows their previous release “Covenant” completely away. With that release they sounded tired and listless. It had its moments, but for the most part was generic and pedestrian. NOT SO NOW!! “Sharks” easily ranks as one of their greatest discs. From the opening riff of “Outlaw Man” to the next track “Quicksilver Rider”, you hardly have time to catch your breath. The beautiful “Serenity” and the album closer “Hawaii” are testaments to the virtuosity of Michael Schenker’s guitar prowess. There isn’t a bad or throw away track here, the disc is as strong as any album they’ve ever made. The core of the “classic” line-up is still intact. Phil Mogg’s vocals are as strong as ever, Michael Schenker’s guitar just rips this disc to shreds, and Pete Way’s bass thumps as steady as ever. Throw in Aynsley Dunbar’s Thundering drum work, and you’ve got all the elements for a great record. And this time it works! Other standout tracks are “Shadow Dancer”, “Fighting Man”, and the soon-to-be classic “Someone’s Gonna Have to Pay”. The only draw back I have to this disc is the absence of long time U.F.O. producer Ron Nevison. I would have really liked to have heard what he could have done at the boards on this one. But that is just a minor flaw of an otherwise strong output. Other discs by U.F.O. I suggest (I have them all!) are: “Lights Out”, “Obsession”, “Strangers in the Night”, “The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent”, “Making Contact” (The Sorely overlooked) “High Stakes and Dangerous Men” and the modern classic “Walk on Water”. Any of these discs are better than 98% of the … thats on the air today!! These guys should have been bigger than Nirvana, or at least Whitesnake. They’re better than either.
“Sharks”, UFO’s latest release is excellent but certainly can’t compare to their 70’s material such as “Rock Bottom”, “Shoot Shoot”, “Too Hot To Handle” or “Lights Out”. It’s fair to compare it to 1997’s reunion album “Walk On Water” which says alot about this latest release. Michael Schenker is still perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists as he shines on songs such as “Perfect View” (a gutsy rocker with a nice hook to it), “Fighting Man” (another hard hitting rocker), “Deadman Walking” (another rocker with a catchy hook) and “Quicksilver Rider” (excellent guitar driven track). There’s a great, almost ZZ Top sounding cut, in “Someone’s Gonna Have To Pay” with Schenker sounding like Billy Gibbons. And the first song “Outlaw Man” is excellent and utilizes slide guitar throughout the track. The other songs are excellent too, especially “Serenity” which is a nice downtempo rock song with excellent guitar and vocals. Phil Mogg as usual handles the vocal duties and does so with energy and enthusiasm. Pete Way’s bass pounds with perfection and compliments Aynsley Dunbar’s drumming in each and every song. If you enjoyed “Walk On Water” then you won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended!
Sharks is a good album and any UFO fan would be pleased with more than a few songs here. Certainly not as good as Walk on Water, but definitely better than Covenant. It’s tempting to point out what’s wrong with the album (no Ron Nevison polish; lack of Obsession-memorable Schenker solos; a few songs that seem just a bit unfinished), the good easily outweighs the negative. Serenity and Crossing Over have the old UFO magic and hint that the old guys might even have another album or two left in them.