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There was no doubt about it, Motörhead survived to the departure of Eddie Clarke and his fast fingers were properly replaced, as we could check on the delightful melodic “Another Perfect Day”, the few new astonishing tracks on the compilation “No Remorse” and the raw stuff from “Orgasmatron”. The amazing birthday show also demonstrated the talent and good work of the new line-up on stage. I dont think I’d put Würzel or Phil Campbell in the same level as Eddie or Robbo, but they seemed to get along and synchronize his guitar parts in stupendous harmony. The Animal was back on this album, after raging drummer Pete Gill and Lemmy yelled at each other, and former Saxon sticksman had to leave. Everybody must have been excited then and expected something big and unforgettable, but unfortunately the new long-play wasn’t that great.
No, this is not a bad record at all, don’t forget we’re talking about Motörhead; the only problem here is the lack of inspiration, creativity and speed on most of the compositions. They still offer some good simple dynamic riffs on “Traitor”, “Dogs” or the catchy “Eat The Rich”, and Lemmy’s dirty voice and his priceless sarcastic verses are satisfactory. Other tunes sound slightly inconsistent, weak and repetitive, like the title-song, “Stone Deaf In The U.S.A.” and the cheesy mellow love number “All For You”. I have the feeling that most of those riffs, song structures and lyric rhymes had been used and heard before, so they don’t sound fresh nor special. Most of the time, the whole tunes are hanging on a humble riff that doesn’t lead nowhere, and both chorus and guitar solos are the only remarkable parts on them. But hey, enough negative criticism, let’s focus on the positive characteristics now: Mr. Phillip Taylor was back and he brought back his energy, power and strenght on the drum parts; his double bass-drum work is outstanding on the furious rhythm on “The Wolf and the lead breaks of the title-track. The legendary rhythmic section is brilliant, solid and Lemmy’s bass defines each riff and supports the guitarists with its crude rough presence. The magic of the early years reappears on some moments of this record (specially on “Blackheart”).
The biggest disappointment I got from this long-play is the Würzel-Campbell predictable inconspicuous guitar work. Are there really 2 guitarists on here? Obviously they can use as much overdubs as they want, and add as much guitar parts as possible in the studio, but there’s no significant difference between each other’s pickin’ parts or licks, their style and skills are generic on this album. I’m sure it’d have sounded the same with 1 guitarist, in fact Würzel’s contribution would get even more forgettable in later CDs. But when the band attack together as one, then satisfaction is guaranteed, like on the fine instrumental vigorous execution on the bluesy “Boogeyman”. And the production contributes to make Motörhead sound convincing and tough, however I always disliked the clean dry sound of Philthy’s percussives, that annoying snare drum particularly, that is much louder than the cymbals, toms or the hi-hat. By the way, that famous Michael Palin blessing is actually funny and amusing, but I’m afraid it breaks the continuity of the record for some seconds.
The final result is honest, decent and I assure you these 9 excellent tunes will make you enjoy as much, or even more than anything Motörhead did in the next decades. In this CD you will find what rock & roll is all about: energy, fun, attitude and guts. Exactly what Lemmy always said: rock & roll is the only religion that never lets you down, the electric church and don’t you listen to a single word against it. That undisputed truth refers to this stunning release as well, and there’s no need to remind you how unique is the classic distinctive Motörhead sound compared with the lame rock artists of nowadays. This one will satisfy your soul.
1987’s ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ album is considered by Lemmy as one of the bands weaker albums, and I’d have to agree. After the excellent ‘Orgasmatron’, the band rushed back into the studio and seemed to spent even less time on the production of the album. Whereas ‘Orgasmatron’ was weirdly lacking in guitars in places (especially considering that it was the bands first twin guitar album) the bass and drums still sounded excellent, but ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ sounds just thin and in places unbearably weedy. Oh well, you know the general pattern of Motörhead albums, a weak one then a strong one.
The song writing on ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ seems stagnant in comparison to the fresh and daring ideas on ‘Another Perfect Day’ and ‘Orgasmatron’, the riffs and song structures seem a little too predictable. Ok, past works such as ‘No Class’ or ‘Jailbait’ were predictable but some of the songs on ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ are lacking in that certain class (see what I did there?). However, it’s of note that there are some classic Motörhead anthems on this album….just as any other Motörhead album. Two of these are actually b-sides (if you own the re-mastered version, which I can recommend as its got two songs on it that are better than most of the album), these being ‘Cradle to the Grave’ which is simple but very well done, a underrated and overlooked song and ‘Just 'Cos You Got The Power’ which has been in the live set for the past 20 years and although this version is not the best, it’s still a corker, slow and bluesy with some great defiant lyrics from Lem. On the actual album itself the title track stands out as a immediate winner, the sort of thing Motörhead have done over and over again. It’s so bloody simple but it works right from the opening line of ‘Well here, babe, look at you, in love with someone else’ (as if Lemmy’s ever got hung up on a girl leaving him, he’d surely just sleep with their sister), to the great bow-now-now riff, a simple message of how Rock ’n’ Roll can save your soul and one of Phil’s best solos its an instant classic, something which this album is a little thin on. ‘Eat the Rich’ is one of the albums better known tracks and it’s a fun enough romp, but the lyrics although light hearted are pretty damn cheesy at times, still fun though. The line ‘Shetland Pony, extra pepperoni’ is one of Lem’s best ever quips .
‘Blackheart’ is the kind of thing we’ve heard from Motörhead before, a bit of a throw-back to the ‘Overkill’ days, and the verses are excellent but I don’t care for the chorus much, it just seems a tad uninspired. ‘Stone Deaf in the USA’ exemplifies just how thin the guitar on this album is, but the song although not a classic is good fun and one of the albums better numbers, catchy and fun. ‘The Wolf’ kicks off this albums second side and it’s a seriously dull piece of speed, ok chorus but it’s nothing a song like ‘Mean Machine’ already did better. ‘Traitor’ again is pretty standard Motörhead fare and although not offensive, its forgettable. It had been done before, and it was done better. ‘Dogs’ is clunky and like most of this albums second side features sections which work better than others. The verses are boring and Philthy’s drums give it a boring groove but the chorus’ are better. ‘All For You’ sounds like a song that wasn’t quite good enough to be on ‘Another Perfect Day’, a bit similar to ‘Shine’ but nowhere near as good. But at least it’s something a little different on the album, hell it’s a Motörhead love song! ‘Boogeyman’ also sounds like a second rate ‘Shine’, ha well it’s ok, but can we try a little harder please?
So it’s another Motörhead album and another line up change, Pete Gill is gone and Philthy Animal Taylor’s back. Good right? Nope, Philthy’s decided to play fairly boringly now and even fucks up on record, listen to that uneven and pathetic sounding double bass at the beginning of ‘The Wolf’, shocking! This is the same drummer who destroyed on ‘Overkill’, the man who was perhaps the most insane and non-drummerery (if you know what I mean) drummer since Keith Moon, and by 1987 he’s average. What a crying shame. This must of rubbed off on the rest of the band as Würzel and Phil’s guitars are often workmanlike and lacking in inspiration, although there are flashes of brilliant from both (mainly in the solos, the riffs are often quite dull on this album). Notably the solos sound far more vibrant that the rhythm as they were recorded in a different studio. Lemmy’s bass is the same as ever, which is a good thing but the sound is too thin in places. Lemmy’s vocals are strained in places which he put down the very hurried pace at which this album was recorded (and then back on the road again, no doubt, oh well can’t blame ya!). Overall, it seems that if a little more time had been taken on the vocals, guitars and production and if they’d got a drummer who actually cared to play on the album ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ would have been a great Motörhead album rather than an average one (Motörhead don’t do bad albums).
It’s a bit of an odd one this ‘un, by no means bad, just hardly a stone-cold, killed by booze and speed Motörclassic. There are about three versions of this album in circulation at the moment. All I know is avoid the original, it’s missing two of the best songs from this era. Apparently the recently released double disc version is the best by far, it features a rather sterling live set from Donnington 1986.
Couple of bits changed, grammar, paragraphing and title.