Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
More rabble-rousing terrace anthems from everyone’s favourite chart-dominating Glam scallywags, these reissues are a very welcome addition to fans old and new as they bring back that visceral excitement of
Spanning a decade, the magic formula the four boys from the Midlands discovered is hardly tampered with and the refinements over the years are akin to tuning the motor of a drag racer, the sound still loud and thrilling but the delivery more polished.
A game changing classic, *‘Slayed?’* set the template for a thousand bands to follow as it exploded out of the speakers in a roar. The brutal and dirty opener ‘How Do You Ride’ is as raw and exciting as any rock ‘n’ roll record has a right to be, its sheer power distilling all that’s great about loud electric guitars, Noddy Holder’s extraordinary vocals something that could demolish tower blocks.
Similarly, ‘The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazee’ brings that early 50’s spirit and is as tough as anything that mates Status Quo had out but things weren’t just full pelt all the way as hidden gem ‘Look at Last Nite’ was less hell for leather and added layer upon layer of dynamics, along with their superb musicianship.
Amongst other delights here, Slade’s feral take on Janis Joplin’s ‘Move Over’ and the way they echo some of the more psychedelic moments of latter-day Beatles during ‘Gudbuy Gudbuy’ show that they’d absorbed popular culture, adding their own twist.
Of course, this was the album that spawned monster hits ‘Gudbuy T’ Jane’ and ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ and as such is worthy of the price of admission alone to hear these absolute stormers on vinyl again but they’re only part of the story. With the slinky, yet raucous ‘I Don’t Mind’ and the traditional rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ closing the album, this rabble-rousing 1972 classic is an essential addition to any collection.
By the time the band reached *‘Nobody’s Fools’ *four years later their commercial peak had started waning but the creative side of the band was a febrile as ever. Not as rough-edged as ‘Slayed’, the glimmer of Glam replaced a lot of the stomp of previous years but the album still hit hard.
With the title track leaning more into David Bowie territory, this took them into more sophisticated areas but the old rebellious streak was never far below the surface, the shout of “Boogie!” at the intro of bouncing rocker ‘Do the Dirty’ showing the boys hadn’t gone soft on us.
From the brilliant stripped-back shuffling railroad blues of ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ onto the wonderfully nostalgic feel that permeates ‘In for a Penny’, the song a peak in their brilliantly crafted way with storytelling through words and music, the quartet show just why they were the biggest selling singles band out of the UK in the 70’s and why They’re still so loved today.
Guest backing vocalist Tasha Thomas makes a big impression too, her work on the ballsy ‘Get On Up’, the soulful reggae of ‘Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya’ and rocker ‘Scratch My Back’ adding excitement and feel to the already broadening sonic range the band employed.
The grandiose and ambitious ‘All the World’s a Stage’ brings a Glam Slam end to the album, its
cathedral-like construction reaching towards the heavens with yet more Beatles sounding flourishes in one glorious welter of sound.
You can hear Slade stretching themselves on ‘Nobody’s Fools’ and this next stage of their evolution is a fascinating and vital chapter in this most compelling of tales.
By the time that *‘The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome’ *(renamed ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply’ in America and Canada) was released in 1983 the band were still riding the crest of their comeback wave following their 1980 Reading Festival triumph.
A follow up to ‘Til Deaf Us Do Part’, it followed the same template of blistering riffs, terrace choruses and driving rhythms that had so endeared them to the heavy metal crowd, the band seemingly enjoying every moment of their rebirth. Produced by Jim Lea, the album rocked hard and was a match for anything else around, quality running through it and the performances capturing that old fire they’d had in the early days.
Strangely, the album wasn’t as big a hot as it should have been at home but instead it found a warm embrace in mainland Europe and, crucially, provided them with the long-awaited breakthrough the other side of the Atlantic.
Whilst it may lack the big hits of the days of yore, the Celtic flavoured romp of ‘Run Runaway’ being the only one released from the album, it is still packed with the good old, heads-down fun that the band made their own.
With pounding full-bore rockers like ‘Slam the Hammer Down’ and ‘Ready to Explode’ there was enough grit and high decibel mayhem to sate the most demanding rivethead and anthemic songs like ‘My Oh My’ and ‘(And Now the Waltz) C’est La Vie’ are sure to get arms waving. There are nods to their Glam days with ‘In the Doghouse’ and ‘Cheap ‘n’ Nasty Luv’ blends Supertramp, Elton John and Electric Light Orchestra with the Slade crunch a ’la ‘We’ll Bring the House Down’ for an absolute riot of sound, all guaranteed to raise a smile.
With all three presented in gloriously colourful splatter vinyl it’s never been a better time to replace those worn-out copies or put aside those CDs and feel the warmth, power and raw honesty of one of the greatest bands to come out of these fair isles. When Messrs.
Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea and Don Powell got together to bring us these pulsating slabs of good time rock ‘n’ roll they couldn’t be beaten and the world certainly needs their crunching, feel-good anthems more than ever. Go out and buy them today. You won’t regret it.