Rolling Stone - 9/2/71, p.43
"...It's all there--the precise breaks, the madly screaming dual guitars, the fanatic drive and energy. Make no mistake, they shovel it out as good as it ever gets, and that's pretty damn good indeed..."
- Lenny Kaye
Q - 7/93, p.1103 Stars
- Good - "...an album which provides a genuine link between the guileless workouts of the original '60s punk groups and the carefully considered art school rage of the '70s versions..."
Unhappy with the more cultivated sound of their sophomore release BACK IN THE U.S.A., the MC5 returned to the barnstorming rock & roll that characterized their debut, KICK OUT THE JAMS, on their third and final album, 1971's HIGH TIME. While JAMS was a live recording, HIGH TIME was created in the studio, but does manage to retain the rough and spontaneous edge of their debut. Unfortunately, the album didn't serve as the MC5's big commercial breakthrough (although it deserved to), and the quintet broke up in a shroud of bickering and drug abuse soon after.
The songwriting is once again experimental and unpredictable, fueled by the band's barely contained playing. While the songs are pretty obscure outside of the MC5's rabid cult following, almost all of them easily hold their own. Most of the tracks exceed the five-minute mark, such as the groovy "Future/Now," the anthemic "Baby Won't Ya," and the percussive album-closer "Skunk (Sonically Speaking)." The punk rocker "Poison" and the bluesy "Gotta Keep Movin'" are shorter but just as exhilarating. HIGH TIME is a criminally underrated early-'70s rock gem.