Thursday, 2 May 2019

Slade - Slade In Flame (1974)

I've seen the Paris lights from high up on Montmartre....

  

Released November 1974

This was the soundtrack album to the (now) cult movie "Slade In Flame", a dour, bleak, realistic movie about the rock music business. It doesn't particularly matter that the songs are listened to out of context of the movie when one listens to the album. It is still a very good album. Possibly one of Slade's best. It is not a stomping glam rock album. By late 1974, the glam thing was becoming old hat. It is a rock album, and a really good one.

TRACK LISTING

1. How Does It Feel
2. Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing
3. So Far So Good
4. Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)
5. OK Yesterday Was Yesterday
6. Far Far Away
7. This Girl
8. Lay It Down
9. Heaven Knows
10. Standin' On The Corner                                  

The album kicks off with the atmospheric ballad beloved of Noel Gallagher, "How Does It Feel". It begins plaintively with just Noddy Holder and the piano before it breaks out into a huge, heavy chorus. It is one of Slade's most accomplished compositions, featuring flute and brass sections as well and, of course, a great Noddy Holder vocal. "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing" is a great rocker in true Slade style, full of riffs and another killer vocal. "So Far So Good" is an evocative, catchy rocker as also is the anthemic "Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)". The latter is a most underrated Slade classic.

"Ok Yesterday Was Yesterday" is yet another superb rocker. The quality just keeps coming on the big hit single "Far Far Away". It is so nostalgic listening to it, for me. Great song. "This Girl" has Slade going funky, with a clavinet backing and an atmospheric vocal from Holder.  This is a definite change in musical direction for Slade and it is a really impressive one. This is a surprisingly good track.

"Lay It Down" is a Stonesy solid rock song with some excellent riffage. "Heaven Knows" is also excellent. "Standin' On The Corner" is a Status Quo-esque guitar-driven heads-down boogie of a rocker. Great saxophone on it too, unusual in a Slade song. There is a very convincing argument that this collection of songs were the finest Noddy Holder and Jim Lea wrote. There really is not a duff track on this most underrated album.

Despite the quality on show here, this was probably Slade's last stand, really, however. It never got any better for them than it had been over the previous three years. Yes they had several more hits and several acclaimed festival live performances but somehow this was the end of their halcyon days.

B+

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