Yet another album review. Slade tried to crack the American market with this one. They didn`t have much success there, and the album only went to number 14 in the English charts and disappeared after only 4 weeks. Not what Slade were used to at the time, but they would make a strong comeback later in their career.
SLADE: Nobody`s Fools
By Tony Stewart
Who really knows why Slade haven`t released an album for well over a year?
One guess is that they deliberately withdrew from England as a tactical manoeuvre after “Slade In Flame” because of declining fortunes and over-exposure.
And to prevent a total collapse of their stature a new market had to be opened, and so their energy was directed towards America. But apparently their trojan work schedule excluded recording.
Now, with “Nobody`s Fools”, which is really their first proper group album of new material since the `73 release of “Sladest” (“Old, New, Borrowed And Blue” and “Flame” can be discounted in this scheme of things) they`re back.
But as what? Now that does seem the pertinent question.
Slade were very much a singles band, worshipped by the kiddies who turned first to the BCRs and more recently to Slik. Now Noddy and the boys have been deposed, without even the help of hearts growing fonder due to their absence, it`s likely that “Fools” is meant as a serious crack at the album market.
In certain respects their present position is not totally dissimilar to that of the Who in the 60s. As a singles band they eventually discovered they could only go so far before peaking and as a necessity realised they had to gain album respect.
The Who made it. But will Slade?
After all, can you really imagine Slade`s music receiving the same critical discussion as “Who`s Next” or “The Who By Numbers”? Eh?
Well, if this album is an accurate representation of their album-making ability I doubt it very much. Oh, Slade are an exciting band. Plenty of grit and kick, and an unrefined charm which has been captured from their live performances in the studio environment; but though superficially the music is of a reasonable standard, there`s not a lot of depth. Really the album is just a collection of hooky little singles (like “Let`s Call It Quits” and “In For A Penny” which have already appeared as such, and the title track and “L.A. Jinx” that could well do) and passable B sides (“Get On Up” and “Scratch My Back”).
Most of the lyrics are banal and drab, and the only feature which cuts through with any effect is Holder`s vulgarity, expressed on “In For A Penny” and “Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya.”
Whether their potential is greater than this is arguable, but as Slade exist on this album they`re working within extreme confines of style; restrictions best illustrated by the ripoff of Toussaint`s “Brickyard Blues” for “Let`s Call It Quits”, and the hybrid of a Diddley rhythm and Lennon`s “Give Peace A Chance” for “I`m A Talker”.
So there`s at least two instances of the ol` inspiration being short. Perhaps there are more.
And even the way they play the material could do with a bit of beefing up.
As it is, Holder, the poor man`s John Lennon, pretty well carries the band through, with Dave Hill sticking close to him like a piece of chewing gum and relentlessly strangling the same figures out of his guitar. Don Powell and Jim Lea (drums and bass respectively) keep a solid backbeat.
To be seriously considered as album artistes they`ve certainly got to come up with something more substantial than this.
But at least the Who can relax a while. There`s no competition.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, The sexual language of rock Part 2, Phil Spector, General Johnson, Climax Blues Band, Gil Scott-Heron, Slik.
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