Thursday, May 5, 2011
British Lions - British Lions
I was given this record by a friend who was a big Mott The Hoople fan. She was paring down her collection and didn't want it anymore. I can see why, even though 3 of the members, Buffin, Overend Watts and Morgan Fisher, came from the Ian Hunter-era Mott line-up and a fourth, Ray Major, comes from the post-Hunter Mott, this doesn't sound much like Mott. Probably because the fifth guy, John Fiddler, wrote most of the songs and sings them. He came from a band called Medicine Head that I've never heard and judging from this I don't know that I really want to. On the picture on the inner sleeve the boys are all well-coiffed and made-up, looking like five lads on their way to a hairdressers convention, so I expected some glam-rock, but in fact this is mostly generic 70s hard rock. I have a bit of an appetite for that stuff but this is pretty marginal. Fiddler isn't much of a singer. He sounds like he's trying to be Lou Reed on "One More Chance To Run" and he imitates Ian Hunter on "International Heroes." Of course he could be Ian Hunter himself and that wouldn't improve this album much. The two best songs come from outside the band, Garland Jeffrey's "Wild In the Street" and Kim Fowley's "International Heroes." "Fork Talking Man" rocks pretty nicely in a mundane sort of way but the lyrics are dreadful. "My Life's In Your Hands" has a nice power riff and reminds me a bit of Blue Oyster Cult. Fiddler's weak vocals and crummy lyrics drag down "Big Drift Away" which is a power ballad reminiscent of Bad Company. It could have been a decent song but it falls short and goes on way too long. "Booster" is my favorite of the group's originals, it even sounds like a Mott the Hoople song. I like the call and response vocals. Unfortunately the goodwill it generates in me is completely undone by the album's closing song, "Eat The Rich." As much as I approve of that sentiment, it is just a really stupid song, even by hard rock standards. This is not an unpleasant record, it sounds sort of nice in the background, but it is instantly forgettable, I can hardly remember a song on it, minutes after it is over. I think the most interesting about it is that Terry Jones and Michael Palin of Monty Python are thanked in the sleeve notes. When the day comes when I have to pare down my record collection, there is a good chance that this record will be on the move again. Recommended for Mott the Hoople fans who dislike Ian Hunter.