Scotti Brothers 1985 / Esoteric 2013
The stomping return of The Great Fatsby – slimmed-down to fit in with the times but rocking away as if the sleighride never ended.
After their final bow on New Year’s Eve of 1974, nobody would bet on the heavyweights getting back to business, even Leslie West himself who shoved two solo albums under his belt and went silent. It was down to Ian Hunter who convinced the guitarist and his drumming cohort Corky Laing to try their luck again, in 1981, with another Woodstock veteran, Miller Anderson. But, after four years of sporadic touring, the latter moved on, having left his hot slide on the pounding “Makin’ It In Your Car”, a germ of MOUNTAIN’s first studio work in 11 years, and the HOOPLE singer asked his own bassist, Mark Clarke, to step in. Not that Leslie was eager to relinquish vocal duties to the former TEMPEST singer; more so, according to the record’s producer Peter Solley, West and Laing “were heavy into illegal substances at the time so there was friction between them”. It resulted, though, in a set of songs both faithful to the group’s legacy and the hair metal tendencies of the day.
“She Loves Her Rock (And She Loves It Hard)” may bear all the prints of its period sonic fashion, but from the opening riff of “Hard Times” that cuts through the infectious groove and the belch of Hunter’s sequencer, on to the gentle closer “Little Bit Of Insanity”, dedicated to the late Felix Pappalardi, the energy spills out of every bar. With big choruses and catchy solos, there’s joy in spades, and while “Spark” is as shiny as it gets for the piece of blues, “Bardot Damage” nails in on the head slow ‘n’ easy, acoustic strum and harmony vocals providing a vibrant texture. Elsewhere “I Love Young Girls” rolls on a humid, seductive rumble, and “Babe In The Woods” swings its “ooh’s” wildly but with enough commercial space to take a breath and dance making it all a nice continuation of MOUNTAIN’s ridge. A pity, it would be another 11 years before the next album.