UFO – The Monkey Puzzle (2006)

UFO - The Monkey Puzzle

UFO – The Monkey Puzzle (2006, SPV/Steamhammer)

  1. Hard Being Me
  2. Heavenly Body
  3. Some Other Guy
  4. Who’s Fooling Who
  5. Black And Blue
  6. Drink Too Much
  7. World Cruise
  8. Down By The River
  9. Good Bye You
  10. Rolling Man
  11. Kingston Town

Band Lineup:
Phil Mogg – Vocals
Pete Way – Bass
Vinnie Moore – Guitars
Paul Raymond – Keyboards & Guitars
Andy Parker – Drums

Total Time – 46:17

UFO official website

The (almost) classic lineup of UFO returns once again to deliver a new album, a new tour, and another lease on life. If you’ve followed UFO over the years, more like decades, then you know all too well the revolving door of band members, the internal strife, and the chaos that often times plagues this great band. It’s a wonder how they actually manage to release new material! And good material at that! Drummer Jason Bonham has left the band for the gig with Foreigner but long time skinsman, Andy Parker, returns to the kit and almost completes the classic UFO lineup of Mogg/Way/Parker/Raymond/Michael Schenker. Of course Schenker has been out for a number of years (again), but guitar god Vinnie Moore continues to occupy the chair that Schenker vacated before 2004’s YOU ARE HERE. Get all that? Are we clear on who’s who? Who’s in, who’s out? That’s always the story with UFO. On to the music…..

THE MONKEY PUZZLE is exactly what you expect from the band: basic Hard Rock that tells a story and assaults the ears with top musicianship. UFO being elder statesmen in the business, 35 years in, they still deliver memorable songs that touch the listener. Mogg’s tales of love, life, and loss takes the listener on a journey everyone seems to travel once or twice in their lifetime. Moore’s guitar weaves in and out providing the extra kick to the solid backline. Moore can duel with the best of guitar virtuosos but he continues his blues-based, ballsy Hard Rock vibe…..keeping within the band rather than playing above it. Come solo time, the man lets loose.

Eleven songs with memorable melodies and hooks, definitely a sing-a-long kind of album. After the first couple of listens, I found myself singing right along with Mogg word for word. The songs are that good, they stay with you, they grow with you. It’s UFO’s working class/common man approach and life topics that people relate to, it just works. Favorite song on the album is ‘Good Bye You’, I always go back after the album finishes and listen to that song one more time. It’s mid-tempo and Mogg tells his sorrowful tale but it’s Vinnie Moore’s intro that just sets the tone. Simple chorus, excellent solo, it’s got that special hook that stands out. A few other personal highlights on an excellent album: ‘Hard Being Me’, ‘Drink Too Much’, ‘Some Other Guy’.

I’ve been listening to THE MONKEY PUZZLE multiple times a day since it’s release a few weeks ago, it will definitely make my Top 5 of 2006. A very strong album from a band that people dismiss due to the personnel struggles. UFO have proven with the last two albums that they are still a vital force in the Classic Hard Rock. This album is highly recommended!

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5 comments on “UFO – The Monkey Puzzle (2006)

  1. Mark – Not sure if you have gone deep into their back catalog but there is some excellent stuff there. Some mediocre material as well. I agree, it’s great to see a band 30+ years in still making new music…..and good music at that!

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Albums of 2006 « Heavy Metal Addiction

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