UFO Force It is A Powerful Album
by Jody Haskins for The Laguna Spectator
If you put the best elements of Led Zeppelin and The Who into a musical blender, you would get a classic rock band called UFO. If you like those two bands then you will not be disappointed with this album by UFO. Phil Mogg has a unique vocal range wrapped up in a pure rock and roll soul. An uncanny ability to sound equally impressive on the hard rockers and the ballads. His lyrics have come under some criticism for not making any sense. If that is a problem here, then why is it not a problem for Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin? As long as the lyrics sound cool and go with the music, who cares? I like lyrics that make you use your imagination.
The nonsensical lyrics on this album are pure rock gold. Especially on “Shoot Shoot”. Musically Michael Schenker can shred and stand with the best in the business. The rhythm section is also top notch thanks to Andy Parker on drums and Pete Way on bass.
Force It was the album that UFO changed to a harder rocking sound. This time the pressure was on for UFO to produce an impressive sequel to Phenomenon. UFO met the challenge and did just that. ‘Force It’ became the first UFO album to reach the charts in America, peaking at number 71. In addition to the wonderful music, ‘Force It’ has a magnificent album cover by Hipgnosis (Pink Floyd Dark Side of The Moon). The ‘Force It’ album cover depicts two people making out in a bathtub. Pretty cool and sexy all at the same time, it depicted raw passion and that is exactly what this album if full of…RAW PASSION.
The people in the tub are a guy named Genesis P Orridge and his girlfriend Cosey Fanni Tutti of the band ‘Throbbing Gristle’. On later releases of the album and CD, the two people in the tub are almost altered to be almost completely transparent. I guess somebody was offended by two human beings doing what comes natural on the original cover.
The songwriting by Phil Mogg and Michael Schenker comes together on this album, creating an explosion of creativity resulting in real soul moving music. Making music this damn good is like catching lightning in a bottle. Mogg and Schenker had creative chemistry in spades and it is a shame they don’t write, record and perform together any longer. This lineup did reunite for an album called ‘Walk On Water’. That album proved that their magic was too strong to die. Only a handful of elite bands can boast of such consistently high quality passion and creativity in both the songwriting and musical performance.
This is the first UFO album to really dive full force into the heavy rock genre, with the help of two key members of Ten Year’s After, Chick Churchill on Keyboards and Leo Lyons handing the production duties. The addition of the keyboards really works here. However, the production is hit and miss. The vocals and guitar are mixed just right, but the background vocals are mixed poorly. There are places where the backing vocals on the chorus just stop without any reason. A trademark of a great Who or Van Halen album has always been the high quality of the backing vocals and the way they are mixed in the production of the albums. The production is a little flat overall. I love to listen to the vinyl album but I do have to confess that I have the MP3 of the remastered 2014 Japan version and it sounds much better. I own both and enjoy them both at different places and times for different reasons. When I want to rock out in the car or at the gym, the remastered version is perfect. On the other hand, when I want to lay back in my recliner with my headphones on and close my eyes and transport myself back in time to 1975 then the original album is preferred. Either way this an instant classic that belongs in your collection.