Of course you don’t need to attach more importance to this piece of news than it necessarily has, but it certainly deserves to be mentioned: for the first time in more than 20 years, one of the most British rock bands in music history has recorded a studio album in their native country. Their latest offering is entitled A Conspiracy Of Stars, was cut by rock legend UFO and breathes that typically British easy-going confidence for which this band has been known for over 45 years. A strong release consisting of eleven songs which combine everything that the group surrounding frontman Phil Mogg stands for: meaty riffs, distinctive hooks, diverse songwriting, intelligent lyrics and that generally laid-back attitude which we have associated with UFO from the start. The fact that A Conspiracy Of Stars was produced and mixed by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, among others) may be considered another successful element in a thoroughly consistent release. To cut a long story short: their 22nd studio recording to date sees UFO prove that past and present can be blended in a homogeneous whole.
A Conspiracy Of Stars presents UFO’s current line-up for the first time: along with the original members, Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitar) and Andy Parker (drums), lead guitarist Vinnie Moore has been a permanent member of the group since 2004, American bassist Rob De Luca joining the fold in 2012. De Luca is not only a brilliant instrumentalist but has also contributed two of the album tracks as a songwriter. The majority of the new material was composed by Vinnie Moore, the album also featuring a song by Paul Raymond and a collaboration between Raymond and De Luca. The lyrics were penned by frontman Phil Mogg.
Talking of which: once again, Mogg proves his talent as a keen observer of the human species. Despite his exceptional position in the international rock’n’roll genre, the British vocalist has remained a man of the people. Mogg continues to be sympathetic to the working class, that’s where his roots are, those are the people that the UFO singer continues to feel close to. Listening to UFO’s new material, you can hear his origins in his songs, in his lyrics, which – despite plays on words and conscious ambiguities – prove his unconditional down-to-earthiness and produce wonderfully poetic phrases such as: “The scatter rollers coming down, summers been and turned around, it don’t seem so long ago, that you were my precious cargo,” he sings on ‘Precious Cargo’, an equally subtle declaration of love as the number ‘Killing Kind’, which has Mogg kick off with the words: “Tell a story about love and what lovers find, a story of possession, the killing kind.” In view of so much verbal aesthetics it comes as no surprise that the UFO vocalist is appreciated the world over for his sensitive and carefully written lyrics.
Lyrics and music for A Conspiracy Of Stars were written and composed in summer 2014. The band met for rehearsals at the Barn Room studios in Kent in mid-August before UFO moved a few miles further east to Chris Tsangarides’ Ecology Rooms studio, where they recorded their latest oeuvre, supported by the Greek Cypriot-British sound engineer, from late August until
mid-September. Coincidentally, Tsangarides was working at the studio as a 14-year-old trainee when UFO recorded their debut album UFO 1 in England in 1970.
So everything’s ready: A Conspiracy Of Stars is all wrapped up, the tour to support the album in spring 2015 has been booked, and UFO are ready to embark on the 22nd chapter of their career. Respect!