Fireworks

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Greg Lake - 'Greg Lake' / 'Manoeuvres' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c5/9b/14/greg-lake-greg-lake-manoeuvres-84-1523818474.jpg

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 15, 2018    
 
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Take one album for fun, take the other on face value.

It's tempting to see these rereleases through the prism of Keith Emerson's suicide*, as Greg Lake made such a name alongside him and Carl Palmer in ELP, but these two albums, from 1981 and 1983, should be seen on their merits. Such as they are...

Released perhaps because they were originally overlooked somewhat, they now come with some extra tracks on the self-titled album, complete with Toto members and Gary Moore. If that isn't enough to pull you into the album's orbit, the music might just do that very nicely. This album combines Metallic guitaring, particularly in the apt opener 'Nuclear Attack', Kiss-like verses, with Yacht Rock breezy airs on 'Black And Blue' – with a lovely organ solo – through a party groove and bubbly organ with New Wave agitation in 'Retribution Drive' (had a house there once...), to smashing Soft Rock with a smoky sax 'Someone' and terrific tambourine shaking on the Toto-esque 'You're Good With Your Love'. This debut really is a bit special, due to the openness he has for shoving different sounds together; yes, it's within the Grown Up Rock area, but it might keep you guessing.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Manoeuvres' is a different kettle of limp, generic fish; Pollock when you wanted cod. It's as if someone had whispered in his ear "these could look good in the charts, you know, just sign here... yes, in blood". This is a collection of mostly anodyne Soft Rockers, smoky atmos, shimmering synths and smoother than a greased ocelot. This can be fairly AOR for those who wants that ('A Woman Like You'), whilst 'Don't Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight' actually has a touch of Rush and a pushy intention which is very welcome. Tracks like the thin 'Famous Last Words', synth string 'I Don't Know Why I Still Love You' and faux dramatic, Christmassy 'It's You, You Gotta Believe', among others, overbalance this album towards flaccidity and anguish. Yes, it's an intention to hit the charts, but taken together, it can also look like a loss of nerve.

Mixed bags like this don't often come with such fine filligree work, but you'd expect nothing less from Greg Lake and his mates. Take one album for fun, take the other on face value.

Steve Swift

(*this review is from Fireworksd Magazine #76)

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