Motorhead - Another Perfect Day
Pretty optimistic, almost friggin' yoo-too-ish title, considering that the band loses a crucial member here, notably Eddie Clarke himself. Enter Brian Robertson, fresh from the dissolved Thin Lizzy, but how on earth could Lemmy have fallen for that guy is beyond me, since the band's history is full of records of violent clashes between him and Robertson. Brian certainly kicked ass in Thin Lizzy, but he'd always been in the 'melodic metal' camp, with expressive complex solos that would advance far beyond "kickass", in dire contrast to Clarke's vehement brutal grossly over driven Chuck Berry-isms. It came almost to the point of absurd when Brian actually refused to play some of Motorhead's most aggressive thrashing numbers onstage - including 'Bomber'! Needless to say, the sucky guy didn't last long in the lineup; the question is why would Lemmy think of having him in the first place.
Of course, it might have been due to the fact that Lemmy was actually looking for some fresh blood to reinvigorate the stale formula. I mean, the guy's not as crucially dumb as he might seem, he likes to have his music change just a teensy-weensy bit from time to time. And Robertson provides a good enough change: there's more guitar melodicity on this album than anywhere else in the Motorhead catalog. Lemmy's always the heart and the soul of every tune, no question about that, the album's solid and friendly [thick as a] brick foundation, but Robertson's guitar riffs are uniformly more complex and tricky than Clarke's, and his soloing also advances beyond his - and yet, all the tunes are as carnivorous as ever. It does take a sharp eye to spot the differences, of course, because Motorhead is that major band where the bass guitar rules over everything else and if you disagree about it you're dead and gone, sucker, but then again, I guess when you've sat through all of their previous albums, your ear should already be relatively well trained towards distinguishing between the sonic layers on any given Motorhead track. So here you have your 'Shine', for instance: look at the guitar solo that Robertson is playing. He's actually setting up a melody there! He might even be pouring his heart out! He's all over the fretboard! He actually gives his notes a direction! Don't get me wrong - I bow down before Clarke and it's his guitar playing that's responsible for the classic Motorhead sound, but I'm really interested in how this particular configuration works out, too. Or, for instance, 'Dancing On Your Grave'. That thing has a descending arpeggiated riff, for Chrissakes, very similar, if not identical, to the one invented by Eric Clapton on 'Badge' - Motorhead might have very briefly touched on similar moody melodic passages at the very beginning of their career, but that was long gone anyway, and Robertson reinstates the mood, even if essentially the song is just another bass-heavy vicious rave-up. And once again, the solo is that of a classic Seventies metal guitarist, not generic (but cool! cool! cool!) blues-rock licks played at devil speed but something more intricate. The problem I seem to be having with the album is that this time around, most of the songs are almost pathetically slow. That bothers me - if on past albums there might have been an overabundance of look-alike lightning-speed proto-thrashers, Perfect Day sure suffers from an abundance of slower pieces. In fact, only the opening and closing numbers recapture Motorhead's speedy glory: 'Back At The Funny Farm' kicks the doors open with a predictable "Barbaric Bass" introduction and never lets go until the end, and 'Die You Bastard' stays true to its title as well. But the rest is S-L-O-W. I guess Robertson just couldn't have been talked into speeding up as often as those other guys woulda liked it - too bad, as his soloing on the fast numbers is mind-blowing just like on the slow ones. This just means that occasionally I get bored with the proceedings - 'One Track Mind' and the title track in particular are no fun for me. However, when the main riff becomes well defined and the guys get their stuff together and seem all bent on driving the point home, this results in the album's major highlight, the ter-riff-ic anti war anthem 'Marching Off To War' (hey, was 'anti-war' pleonastic in this sentence or what?). That Lemmster, when he's really got it, he's got it, he's giving you some of the most original social comment since the days of Demosthenes! Go Lemmy go! No, but seriously, since when do we all love Bruce Springsteen, yet fear and shun Lemmy Kilmister? At least that guy sure wouldn't wear no Union Jack on his ass.