Week two, post two and we’re coming back to The Angels (also known as Angel City in the Unites States), with a look at their second album. It was released in Australia in 1978, but the rest of the world wouldn’t see it until 1980, where some of their third album’s material contributed to the tracklist as well. So how is it?
Off to a less than stellar start, unfortunately. Opener “Straight Jacket”’s topsy-turvy vocal melody on the verses does it no favors, and it lacks the full blast of The Angels’ specialty, the full volume Def Leppard-esque chorus (just with less voices). The solo rules, though it’s just not enough to make this song a great opener.
But thing’s are kicked into gear on song number two. “After the Rain” is a quintessential Angels song, and the aforementioned full volume chorus is here in spades, with a more understated melody on the verses to contrast it perfectly. Doc Neeson’s unique vocals might take a little getting used to, but not to the degree of Jimmy Barnes or Bon Scott.
But moving on, song three, “Love Takes Care”, is unfortunately more “Straight Jacket” than it is “After the Rain”. It’s chorus, though, is simpler and more efficient, but isn’t very memorable after all is said and done. Being sat between two heavy hitters wasn’t doing it any favors either. Said second heavy hitter is “Take a Long Line”, and you know this song is going to rock from the off. The iconic bass line that introduces the song is soon accompanied by some unfiltered on-and-off riffing and Doc’s vocals telling the story that culminates with the short but sweet chorus.
The out and out rock of “Take a Long Line” is then followed by the more sophisticated “Marseilles”, another top-tier song. “Marseilles” is no slouch in the rock department, but never gets too bombastic. But the best part is that it rules without even needing to. And going off topic a little, the Baby Animals cover of the song rules too. But now we get back to a bit more average song, in what would have been the side two opener. “Live it Up”, with its barnyard feel and harmonica is definitely jarring to hear, and its certainly not the best song on the album either.
“Be With You” is more like it though. It’s a lot more ballady than most of the other song, but like Slade, The Angels still manage to hit full volume on the choruses of their ballads, to great effect too. A second ballady song, “Outcast”, follows, but it’s merely alright. The closing two numbers are far more noteworthy. The first is “I Ain’t The One”, and you know this one means business as its drum intro launches straight into the riff. It took a while to get back into the rock on this half of the album, but it was worth it. Same goes for closer “Coming Down”, which returns us to the full shout chorus to go with some more electric riffing. The payoff for listening to the whole album is definitely there.
Face To Face gave us a lot of The Angels’ most well-known songs but beyond that it’s largely lacking in hidden gems. But none of the filler is terrible, and the songs that aren’t filler are shining examples of the metal/punk/rock combo The Angels ruled at.
The verdict- 3.75/5 stars
Week three of Oztoberfest will see us going a little more well-known, as we look at the Australian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Barnes.