UFO – A Conspiracy of Stars
Certain artists attain a level of comfort that they can churn out high quality albums with regularity. We often wonder in what vacuum this aspect exists, but as a faithful fan of melodic hard rock and heavy metal I’m thankful that we have vanguard acts like UFO proving that their best years can be as current as their early, legendary efforts. Not content to live off the nostalgia that put "Strangers in the Night" on the must have live album front and caused guitar plays to incessantly learn by ear the magnificent extended Schenker solo break to "Rock Bottom", "A Conspiracy of Stars" is another vibrant 11 song, 50 minute record that is catchy, deep, bluesy, and engaging.
Between Phil Mogg’s alluring, playful vocal melodies, the steady grooving rhythm section of bassist Rob De Luca and drummer Andy Parker, and the professionalism and taste making chord combinations plus lead efforts from keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond and guitarist Vinnie Moore, they waste no time getting to the heart of the matter on "The Killing Kind", veering into slide guitar/ swampy blues for "Ballad of the Left Hand Gun" and reaching back into their British classic heritage on "Messiah of Love". No wasted notes, respect and admiration on display as UFO glide through material that lifts spirits and reminds me of what makes hard rock such a lifelong passion. Sure Vinnie Moore could pour hundreds of spitfire notes in an 8 bar lead break – but he would rather promote each song’s individual character in appropriate spots, more bluesy with Michael Schenker and Gary Moore at the forefront.
Add in words that Mogg uses as playful imagery or food for thought (‘counting black sheep’ for "Rolling Rolling" or ‘trusting you is like throwing the dice’ on "Run Boy Run"), organ work straight out of 1975, and just top to bottom a record that doesn’t have a filler track at hand and you’ll understand that UFO doesn’t see any need for retiring anytime soon. Nor should they, as "A Conspiracy of Stars" isn’t alien to all hard rock fanatics in the galaxy.