Q - p.1284 stars out of 5
-- "[The album] showcases a band at their peak and broadening their sound..."
Slade: Chris Mercer (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Steve Gregory , Mick Eve (tenor saxophone); Byd Beadle (baritone saxophone); Eddie Quansah, Ron Carthy (trumpet); Chris Smith (trombone); Malcolm Griffiths (bass trombone).
Slade in Flame is a tough album to judge. It marks the end of Slade's rule over the British charts -- the album went to number six (the band's previous four LPs reached number one), but it would be nearly ten years before the band would return to the top of the pops. Made as an accompanying piece to the movie of the same name, Slade in Flame was different than the group's other records. It's an artistic tour de force for a band that was looked on as "just a good time." Although Slade was that, the band had a lot more in its bag of tricks, and this album shows it. Most folks (if not all) were expecting Slade to come out with a Monkees-type movie: lots of slapstick and a funny, lighthearted good time. Instead, the band delivered a much more reality-based film and album. Don't worry, though, because it's still pure Slade. The album stretches the band's stylistic universe to include brass and more keyboards than before. The lyrics are a little more serious than you might expect -- the album is about what a bummer it can be to be famous, as well as the all of the advantages (girls). From the opening number, "How Does It Feel," Slade sets a different tone. A piano and vocal intro greets the listener. Of course, by the end of the song the full band is rocking furiously. They don't let up on the classic "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing," which features great drumming by Don Powell. "So Far So Good" is a beautiful rocker, and was covered by Alice Cooper songwriter Mike Bruce on his first solo album. On "OK Yesterday Was Yesterday," Noddy gives his lungs a big-time workout. [The British and American versions of this album differ slightly. The U.S. version added two British A-sides, "Bangin' Man" and "Thanks for the Memories," while deleting a couple of tracks. "Bangin' Man" is definitely one of Slade's best, and worth seeking out on a greatest-hits CD.] ~ Geoff Ginsberg