“During the 80’s, UFO had become purveyors of very fine AOR, while never short on power. The re-tuned lineup that released 1985’s outstanding ‘Misdemeanor’ album managed to stay intact with the exception of Paul Raymond.
Written by: Lee South Africa
ALBUM: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (mini LP)
LABEL: FM Revolver
SERIAL: WKFM LP 107
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Phil Mogg – vocals * Atomik Tommy M (McClendon) – guitars, backing vocals * Paul Gray – bass * Jim Simpson – drums, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Between A Rock And A Hard Place * 02 Another Saturday Night * 03 At War With The World * 04 Hunger In The Night * 05 Easy Money * 06 Rock Boyz Rock * 07 Lonely Cities (Of The Heart)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
During the 80’s, UFO had become purveyors of very fine AOR, while never short on power. The re-tuned lineup that released 1985’s outstanding ‘Misdemeanor’ album managed to stay intact with the exception of Paul Raymond’s departure on the US leg of that tour. That’s some resilience considering the album’s abject failure on the commercial front, hard to believe considering the quality AOR on offer.
‘Misdemeanor’ is reviewed elsewhere on these pages so in the meantime, UFO lost their Chrysalis deal and were shopping for a new deal. Demos were recorded but nobody was biting. By 1988 FM Records saw fit to release these sessions as a mini album called ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’. Had they continued on the AOR path established through the decade?
‘Between A Rock And A Hard Place’ comes over with a slightly tougher sound than the ‘Misdemeanor’ era, definitely some hard rock qualities scattered in there among the obvious AOR appeal. Mogg is in rare lyrical form too, unveiling a litany of threats aimed at whoever had done him wrong. Real or imagined? Who knows, and it shouldn’t matter now.
So a shot of Bushmills into the long dormant AOR coffee meter then, as ‘Another Saturday Night’ provides the cream: deft AOR in every sense, from the chiming keys to cutting guitar drama in the verses, the chorus has AOR smash written all over it. Of course it was not to be, but that shouldn’t detract from its claim for classic AOR status.
‘At War With The World’ returns to that hard AOR hybrid sound, a serious groove at work in the choppy verses, topped off with another winning melodic chorus.
Things get even hotter with ‘Hunger In The Night’, pretty much typifying hard AOR setting Kiss against Journey in the comparison stakes. Tension building throughout the taut verses, the dam bursts at chorus time, hints of ‘Hysteria’ era Def Leppard in the mix as well as the aforementioned giants. McClendon really excels on guitar, not a wasted note in sight and probably one of the better vocal takes I’ve ever heard from the mighty Phil Mogg. This is how I love my AOR, anthemic and plenty of crunch under the hood.
‘Easy Money’ only continues the hot run of form, Mogg yelling ‘let’s go – while we’re young’ to get proceedings underway. Riffing aplenty and the chorus delivered over ‘on the one’ styled drumming. Pulsing synths are massaged into the track midway, adding welcome AOR appeal and atmosphere.
‘Rock Boyz Rock’ is as anthemic as it’s slightly derivative title suggests it should be, and manages to continue the hard AOR golden run UFO are achieving here. I’m really enjoying the way they’re combining familiar hard rock idiom with classy AOR structure and execution, sounds fine to me and redlining the coffee meter now firmly out of storage.
‘Lonely Cities Of The Heart’ is supposed to have been a bonus track, but the mighty AOR hooks and chorus say otherwise to me. Only the slightly more demo-ish production could count against an otherwise belting AOR track to close off a fine mini album, probably one of my favourite tracks on here, ending off in waves of AOR synth, proving that coffee is always better with a little cream in the mix.
UFO disbanded around this time due to not getting a proper contract with these recordings, which is clearly unfortunate as this lineup surely had a lot more to offer the AOR inclined in their fan base. It does stand as a fitting epitaph for the McClendon era though, classy songs shot through with strong AOR appeal.
‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ certainly ended UFO’s 80’s output on a high note. Next up would be the reunion with Pete Way on 1992’s ‘High Stakes..’ album, but that’s for another chapter. Suffice to say this little beauty would not disgrace your AOR collection.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)