Thursday, September 2, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 174: Budgie

In the last three reviews I've had music from 1984, 2004 and now 1974. Could 1994 be next?

Anyway, this week is a band I've been dying to review, since I seriously starting listening to them late last year. If I wax poetic, my apologies - love is so ardent when it is freshly blooming.

Disc 174 is...In For The Kill
Artist: Budgie

Year of Release: 1974

What’s Up With The Cover?: As always, Budgie does a great album cover. This is probably my least favourite, but I still like it. A hunting hawk lands on a glove. It is very Discovery Channel meets Spinal Tap.

How I Came To Know It: Full credit to my buddy Spence, who introduced me to Budgie through their monster track, "Homicidal Suicidal" a number of years ago (n.b. not on this record). "In For the Kill" is me drilling through their collection, having discovered they've remastered all their records.

How It Stacks Up: I have four of Budgie's albums at this point (more to come, but they cost $30 each, so I'm taking it slow). All four are pretty close for me, but I'll say this one is 2nd or 3rd.

Rating: 4 stars

Budgie is a great seventies hard rock/proto-metal band that I am overjoyed to discover so many years after they recorded. This particular album is their fourth studio effort, and the first one with a new drummer (Pete Boot). The old drummer, Ray Phillips, left over 'creative differences', as opposed to the usual method drummers leave a band (i.e. they explode).

Their sound is a cross between seventies Rush and Led Zeppelin. The similarities with Rush are particularly astounding. They are a three piece, where the lead singer is a dorky looking bass player with long wavy hair and a high pitched voice.

The Geddy Lee in Budgie is frontman Burke Shelley - he could be Geddy's long lost English twin. Here he is with fellow band mates John Lithgow and 'Booger':
(n.b. - band member names may not be 100% accurate).

Also like Rush, they will often lay down a very cool riff, but midway through the song decide they have grown tired of it, and switch it up entirely. Sometimes they return to the old riff, but not always. They also love super long tracks: "In For The Kill" features four songs over six minutes and two over nine minutes.

All the tracks are great, but my favourite is "Zoom Club"; one of the nine minute opuses. It has a crushing guitar riff, and furious drum sequences. The liner notes indicate it was written about a club in Germany popular with American G.I.s (The Zoom Club). Budgie was a favourite act in the club, and they wrote a song in its honour. Whatever it is about, it is about rocking hard.

Budgie is also known for long, bizarre song titles. Ordinarily I am against overlong song titles, but not when they are this good. "In For The Kill" features a song titled "Crash Course in Brain Surgery." The title is awesome and even though it is a paltry 2:39, the song measures up.

"In For The Kill" is one of Budgie's hardest driving albums, and even the quieter songs (they may be the original balladeers of the proto-metal movement) are a bit edgier than usual.

The only negative on this album is something common to all the Budgie remasters I have, and that is the old problem of adding pointless bonus tracks. Budgie remasters are possibly the worst for the choices made. This album has seven original album songs, and four bonus tracks. All the bonus tracks are simply different versions ('2003 version', 'radio edit version') of the songs that you've already heard. "Zoom Club" makes three separate appearances. It is a great song, but if I want to hear it again, I'll play the original again.

Budgie is a kick ass hard rocking band not afraid to be innovative and do their own thing. The price of such individualism may be that most people have never heard of them, but that's an injustice I'm working hard to correct.

Best tracks: In For The Kill, Crash Course in Brain Surgery, Zoom Club, Living On Your Own.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

You've made an error - it's "In For the Kill!" with an exclamation point! The horror!