Lucifer's Friend - 'Black Moon'

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Lucifer's Friend - 'Black Moon'

Does the Devil have all the best tunes?

Forget Bob Beelzebub and Mike Mephistopheles, isn't God herself supposed to be Lucifer's best mate before they had a falling out over who was best? That's what the story tells us anyway. This lot have been friends since 1969 and some of the original members are still in the line-up, including John Lawton who also had a period behind the mic for Uriah Heep. We haven't heard from them since 1996's well-received 'Too Late To Hate' album, but they're back and with a pleasing, whimsical Prog-meets-Musical-Theatre feel. 'Behind The Smile' tries to be a softer Demon track but Lawton pushes the drama, albeit not too much, and it retains an early eighties FM/Wishbone Ash vibe too.

That softness with some electric piano insistence in the verse and a catchy chorus make 'Taking It To The Edge' a bit special as well, but they don't let you forget they're a Rock band, especially with the big sound, low-slung seventies riffs of 'Palace Of Fools' where Lawton really delivers a massive performance. They save the best for a syncopated title-track with some organ blasts, which is a bit more Deep Purple-like and all the better for it, and there's even a blazing trumpet solo as well; it's quite wonderful and the handclaps in the bluesy 'Freedom' runs a close second.

It can sound a bit faceless at times. For example, 'Call The Captain' and he simply won't remember what you said! 'Glory Days' goes halfway to Purple but turns and runs, while 'Passengers' comes and goes, but it's mostly very fine, old style Rock played with absolute passion and self-belief.

Does the Devil have all the best tunes? On this showing, his mate isn't doing too badly that's for sure.

Ms. D

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