SPV 1989 / Angel Air 2013
Back from the ashes and hardened to the bone, the original heavy glamsters deliver a killer set.
“Ballroom Blitz” in the same context as “Fanfare For The Common Man”? Yes, in 1986, soon after guitarist Andy Scott and drummer Mick Tucker, the most raucous fraction of the ’70s quartet, took out the band from the 2-year limbo, it was so. Sharp and progressive, thanks to the non-glitter pipes of the first IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Day and prominent keyboards dashes from Phil Lanzon, soon to join URIAH HEEP, they gave a new lease of life to the classic songs in the “Marquee” sanctified walls. Here, smacking the aforementioned Aaron Copland’s piece right in the heart of the ever-groovy and now piano-stricken “Love Is Like Oxygen,” the ensemble seem hellbent on proving their relevance in the decade when glam got heavy: it’s either them or, how the dusted-off old B-side goes, “Someone Else Will.”
The revitalized group didn’t have a new album out – it would have to wait until 1992, when "The Answer" arrived – but they plucked the courage to deliver the non-hits cuts such as “Burn On The Flame,” one of the previously unreleased bonuses on this reissue, and the dramatic “No You Don’t” alongside surefire smashes like “AC-DC” and opener “Action,” where vocal harmonies make a glorious return into fray. Yet it’s “Sweet FA” that gets aurally upgraded for a genuine metal clang now, which hits the low ceiling once Scott unleashes a solo and during the slightly hysterical charge through “Set Me Free” that also receives a pseudo-orchestral backdrop from synthesizers, one taking the edge off “Fox On The Run.” That edge would be gone ten years later, when this scribe saw SWEET live, but, surprisingly, 25 years on, the band embraced their mojo anew and, judging by the recent live album, still rock in fine fashion.