without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
If Nightflight wasn’t the ultimate example of Budgie’s misguided commercial ambitions, than Budgie’s final original album most certainly is. The synths from the last album are back and even more prominent and cheesier than you can imagine. Think mid-80’s Rush without the emotional authenticity: the guitar sound on this supposed “rock” album is just as pathetic. What few heavy metal riffs are left are scattered thin between lame, repetitious pop rock that’s no better than any of the more famous garbage of this period. As mentioned in my Nightflight review, listen to Styx, Journey, Def Leppard, Foreigner, etc for an approximation of Budgie’s sound on their RCA albums. If you can dig this sort of stuff, than you have a stronger stomach than I, sir or madam.
Songwriting throughout is manufactured and hook-oriented, what little remained of the band’s trademark eccentricity has been cut loose in favor of era-specific clichés. Between the obligatory weepy love ballads (“Alison,” which is somehow worse than your typical Budgie ballad) and upbeat rocking love ballads (“Young Girl,” not much better), there’s a heavy emphasis on Cold War paranoia in tracks like “Finger on the Button,” “Bored with Russia,” and “N.O.R.A.D.” Lots of groups were getting in on this sort of thing (Birth Control, for instance); it was a trendy musical subject. Budgie, however, had never been a trendy band: their uncommon musicality inspired trends, not followed them. This is just absurd. “Bored with Russia?” Nope, not me fellas. “Don’t Cry?” I’m trying my best not to, almost can’t help it listening to how a mighty band has fallen. “Hold On to Love?” Not for Budgie guitarist John Thomas, whose flashy half-assedry has apparently ruined the band. Over three albums and an EP recorded with him, there might be two songs that are even close to the value of the fucking throwaways off their 70’s albums. Find it hard to believe? So did I. Gander for yourself, dear reader, and see if you don’t find yourself thinking the same.
With the exception of perhaps “Flowers in the Attic,” which performs fairly well for a power ballad (in the same vein as “Time to Remember” from Power Supply), there’s nary a song worth remembering off this record. Afterwards, the band would record tracks for a final RCA album, but would end up shelving it and calling it quits (the lost demos would eventually be released as The Last Stage in the 2000’s). Metallica’s decision to cover a pair of the band’s choicer tracks from their early period would result in renewed interest in Budgie, quite possibly the only reason they maintain a cult fan base to this day. But all the Budgie love in the world is most certainly directed towards their 70’s accomplishments; their brief 80’s outings should be duly forgotten.
Promptly deliver this from your attention.