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Fuck notes, eh Lemmy? - 82%

MacMoney, August 6th, 2010

The year is 1982. Motörhead are about to record a cover of the song, Stand by Your Man. Not that surprisingly 'Fast' Eddie Clarke thinks it's bullshit and quits the band as a protest. This all happens in the middle of the tour so Lemmy and Phil are left in a bit of a bind, not having a guitarist for their live dates. Fortunately someone informs them that Brian 'Robbo' Robertson - formerly of Thin Lizzy-fame - is on tour a couple of towns over. A few phone calls later: Motörhead has a new guitarist. However, throwing out a raging madman like Eddie Clarke and bringing in a completely different style of guitarist has its complications. Robertson is a much more melodic guitarist, a master of the style having played it together with Scott Gorham in Thin Lizzy for five years and five albums. For this reason, Another Perfect Day was going to be a different album from the start, despite what Lemmy says.

"Fuck notes", yet the album is chock full of them. Well, surely it fires off with a classic Motörhead-style rocker which could almost keep pace with the likes of the title track-trio, Overkill, Bomber and Ace of Spades, but while Lemmy's bass is rough and fast, Robbo's guitar plays a very melodic line and by the second part of his first solo he shows that he definitely is no Eddie Clarke. That is, he is a lot more versatile and interesting lead guitarist than his predecessor. Eddie was very fitting for the style of the earlier albums, but Robbo does his thing with a lot more style and class. His solos and leads take up a whole lot of space on the album and fortunately he has the chops to warrant this kind of attention. Whenever Lemmy isn't on the mic, Robbo has something going on in the melody section; a little twiddle that he repeats with a slight variation, a small lead bit, a full-on solo or something in between. This translates to a lack of rhythm guitar, but with the band in case being Motörhead this isn't really a problem as Lemmy's bass is cranked up loud - but not disturbingly so - and distorted with some mid-range fuzz so it can support Robbo's guitaring the back-up oomph it needs.

Not that surprisingly, without Eddie there, the punk-influence on Another Perfect Day is toned down a notch or two. In its place is a lot more rock'n'roll, courtesy of Eddie's replacement. He has also brought with him long, leisurely yet fast-paced sections fitting for his extensive solos. The thing is though, where this album works is the songs that rely on Robbo's melodies. These are often the lighter songs, with a more laid back attitude to them, with riffs drenched in Robertson's melodic ideas. They're like a picnic on a sunny lazy day with a joint or two to pass around. It's like at the writing sessions Lemmy and Phil were convinced by their new guitarist to do the compositions under the effects of marijuana instead of the speed they were commonly cranking. There's a loose, bluesy feeling to the two songs of this kind, Dancing on Your Grave and the title track, especially when Robertson is given a free hand to go at it and do what he does best. At times the songs feel more like vehicles for his solos than actual songs, which is by no means a bad thing. He is just that much of a delight to listen to. A third lighter track also features on the album, but it is one that Clarke took hand in writing, even if it sounds a bit off for him. I Got Mine is a kind of a love song even if it takes a fast paced Motörhead-stab at the style, but the riffs are again based just on Lemmy's bass while the guitar plays vastly melodic riffs whenever it isn't a time for a lead or a solo. It makes a striking contrast to the two other songs with its faster tempo, lighter feel and very long solo sections, which are very much a treat. Imagining the sections taken over by Clarke is quite a task; they probably would've been shortened a lot if not cut out altogether.

It's not difficult to imagine why people might have scratched their heads at these songs on a Motörhead album and why fans might have been disappointed. It's not exactly the album to wreck things by when hyped up on crank, even if a couple of the songs on it would be fitting for that. It's an album for someone who enjoys melodic, blues and rock 'n' roll-tinged guitar playing since there's plenty of that, especially in terms of leadwork. That is by far the best part of the album and fortunately Lemmy and Phil didn't hold Robbo back on this. He has all the space he needs. Which is why it is rather lamentable that he wanted even more. Robertson's career in Motörhead ended after the tour for the album for he refused to play a lot of old Motörhead classics such as Overkill, Ace of Spades and Bomber. We are left with this one, unique piece of work, showcasing his magnificent guitaring.