Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Special edition: Spinal Tap review-The Sun never sweats

Were you aware that Spinal Tap did other albums besides Smell the glove and Break like the wind? Well, of course they did or at least some die-hard fans made up names and track listing. You can actually read reviews on three of these lost gems. One is here and the other's are Rock and roll creation and Brainhammer.

Spinal Tap-The Sun Never Sweats, MegaphoneRecords, 1975

This was Spinal Tap’s big concept album that was supposed to be about the history of the British Empire. However it comes across as more of a collection of outtakes. ‘Daze of knights of old’ is almost as confusing as it’s title as it seems to be trying to fuse blues rock (ala Zeppelin) with progressive rock of some sort (mainly Yes), but ultimately falls flat. Both the ‘Princess and the unicorn’ and the ‘Obelisk’ seem like leftovers from the bands gentler hippie stage of the late 1960’s so they seem a bit out of place at this point in Tap’s career. The title track works to some extent as it’s enjoyable despite being a bit of self-indulgent piece of fluff. It’s a good example of Tap being able to help a song through displaying some attitude although it’s a shame that there wasn’t more of that attitude throughout the entire album. The Nigel Tufnel penned Stonehenge is a bit like the structure it’s named after in that it’s a big rock thingy that kind of sits there serving no apparent function. There are some reports that songs called ‘First time again’ and ‘Square balls don’t roll’ were recorded during sessions for this album, but were later scrapped when the band couldn’t figure out how to work them into their “concept”. The title is supposed to be a reference to the phrase “The sun never sets on the British Empire”, however bass player Derek Smalls misheard it yet no one saw fit to correct him until after the album was printed up. Fortunately the sun didn’t completely set on Tap’s career and they had some brighter moments yet to come.

Hope that you are enjoying movie week here at my blog. Thursday I will have out my review of the movie Airheads.


Blogger The Phoenix said...

I'd like to hear "Square balls don't roll." That would be a hidden jem discovered for sure!

10:12 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Great review, Mark!

Your line about the song "Stonehenge" being like the famous site of the same name--each being a "big rock thingy that kind of sits there serving no apparent function"--had me on the floor. Well done.

-- david

10:32 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Phoenix-I am sure it would have been a gem.

David-Thanks, it was fun writing it and fairly quick once I got the time to set down.

11:28 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Got to love those dancing dwarves!

11:53 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Superb review Mark.

I think Ross McLochness played on this album too.

I think Ronny Pudding and Denny Upham had left though.

I find David's review like "fire" and your review is like "ice". My review's a bit like luke warm water.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

If I can do Airheads tomorrow and review Trick or treat on Friday then I may be able to squeeze in another post relating to Spinal Tap on Saturday.

5:29 PM  

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