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Lights Out

UFO

℗ 1977 Chrysalis Records CHR 1127

UFO • 1977 • Lights Out

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 standout individual performances, particularly Phil Mogg's street level vocals, which no doubt greatly influenced Joe Elliot and Paul Dianno. 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. — Matthew Kantor.

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