Mrs 1537 is a funny, quirky creature as I have learned over the years. One of these quirks is an instinctive and total dislike of any European rock (ironically she liked and saw Europe, though). Every so often I may try and sneak on a track by Reckless Love, dEUS or The Backyard Babies and Mrs 1537 will immediately confront me, a baleful look in her eye and hiss, ‘they sound … Belgian‘ at me disdainfully (this, not being a Good Thing). Whilst I am always ready to embrace music from our European, or at least non-USUK brethren (in the case of Krokus), this has had a gradual wearing down effect on me. What if, God forbid, she is right? that there is something incorrect about people from the Benelux countries with guitars? she’s not infallible though, it is only fair to note, she refused to believe the Darkness weren’t German for weeks until I could prove to her satisfaction that they were in fact from Lowestoft.
Maybe this explains why I only bought Blackout by the Scorpions in April this year, some 30 years after it was released. It was just one of those LPs that people bandy about as classics, that I nor anyone I knew apart from my mate Julian (who said it gave him bad dreams), had ever heard. Ah well, £3 from Ebay, it was worth a flutter. I do buy a certain number of LPs that way, trying to plug classic-shaped gaps in my collection. Why? to impress particularly knowledgeable burglars? to collect a complete set of ‘good stuff’? what would I do then?
Scary fork-faced dude on the cover to one side, this is a brilliant LP. The production by Dieter Dirks is just amazing – total clarity, total differentiation, real oomph (fake oomph = not a Good Thing (but still better than Rocking Belgians, on a global scale of Good things)). From the opening, racing chords of ‘Blackout’, across the vocal contortions of ‘Now!’ and to the clout of ‘China White’ – the last track gets missed off, because it’s pants and a bit of a ballad; this is a great LP. Big guitars played with real intent, great committed vocals and just a really tight band racing forwards together all the way.
Now it’s an easy guffaw to pick out a line or two from a lyric sheet, particularly an English-as-second-language band, I would never do that, quoting words which are meant solely to sound right and fit the music just for laughs. Never.
‘Don’t make the world a flaming star / Stop, stop these senseless wars’ – that’s told ’em boys.
‘Teach me to fly / Wanna stay high / I have to live it up before I die / Nightlife and booze / Girls to choose’
Just call me Mr Integrity.
But, this is not about the lyrics, it is just about the SOUND and that sound rocks! Just stick on ‘Can’t Live Without You’, or ‘Now!’ and pick up your air guitar, you know you want to. Yes you! I’m really glad I bought this one.