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First Released

Calendar Icon 1976


Genre Icon Hard Rock


Mood Icon Gritty


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Speed Icon Medium

Release Format

Release Format Icon Album

Record Label Release

Speed Icon Frontiers Records

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Album Description
Available in: Country Icon
1976 was hard for NAZARETH: their manager died in a plane crash and the band got on a two-albums-per-year treadmill again, but what's more important, the only way after the height which was "Hair Of The Dog" was down. All this could be wearing and tearing for the band, yet with the first album of that year, they turned the troubles into success, to let themselves shamble a bit on the second one. Still, laying down both LPs in Canada, where NAZ had a healthy fambase, seemed to have been the only concession to the unrelenting schedule the quartet lived by.

The group's modus operandi is the main concept of "Close Enough For Rock 'n' Roll" which presents a bold structure, not unlike its contemporary "Hotel California", beginning with one of their greatest compositions, with the rest, as fine as it is, paling in the hit's shadow. The four-part "Telegram" comes into focus little by little, with the anxious guitar riff joined by piano tinkling, and seriously, to relay the touring travails, the repeating vocal figures punctured with the bass and drums careful throb, before the echo of "This Flight Tonight" kicks the picture into its groovy fullest. But then, the Scots' humor rears its head with the quote from THE BYRDS' "So You Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star" the irony of which paves the road for Manny Charlton to employ his guitar orchestra - and for the band to get back to their glorious business with a touch of glam in the number's finale. Yet there's much more to this business, so the sadness hides in the swagger the raunchy knees-up of "Vancouver Shakedown" and blooms in the "Homesick Again" anthemic country harmonies wheeled in on the almost baroque folk instrumental "Vicky". Quite a way to shape your slick desperation!

And if the hardening of Jeff Barry's "You're The Violin" might be a slight misstep in that direction, "Loretta" revolves around the old boogie pole, and elsewhere NAZ introduce even more ways to spill their concoction. The band go for the unexpected radio-friendly reggae in "Carry Out Feelings" and shake their Pete Agnew-propelled funk with "Born Under The Wrong Sign" - it's more Philly glitter than Chicago grit this time but the band's gusto feels good. The same glisten colors the heavy, organ-oiled march of "Lift The Lid" which paves the road for the next album.

"Play 'n' The Game" explores the now-famiilar templates in the jittery jive of "Waiting For The Man" and the sleek, if racy, "Born To Love" but mostly raves it up down the straight 'n' narrow, opening with the metallic "Somebody To Roll", dirty and threatening but rather hollow: the fatigue, absent from "Telegram", sets in, but is executed nicely in the blues of "I Want To Do Everything For You" and the maudlin "I Don't Want To Go On Without You", two of four covers on offer. The best of these is the country-tinged "Down Home Girl" which, with its handclaps and slide guitar runs, dissolves the tiredness in the Dan McCafferty-led merry bravado, whereas the NAZ original "Flying" softens the theme - and rhythm - of the similarly titled Joni Mitchell's classic and effectively becomes its continuation. THE BEACH BOYS' "Wild Honey" sounds too strained for its jolly faux-bluegrass money, though, so the rocking swirl of "L.A. Girls" feels most welcome to draw the curtain, and the bonus B-side "Good Love" is as sharp and posh as it gets for the Dunfermline warriors.
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