Classic Swedish hard rockers Shaggy released an outstanding album already back in 1975 and then fell off the earth, to return in 2012 with the equally exceptional album “Destination Nowhere.” Fighting Angels And Demons then followed this album”, was a double album, divided into two releases. The first one was stellar, so now that part 2, entitled “Scarecrow,” has been released, my expectations are quite high.
The album kicks off with the highly hit-oriented “Hero.” We’re not talking buttery, wimpy pop-hit, but more the type of hits delivered by bands like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple hits with dignity and backbone. Next up is “Boogie Man,” which continues in the same vein, and it’s not often I get to label a track “progressive boogie,” but that’s just what this is! Great Hammond was playing from original member Tom Ryan and big guitars from his unique colleague Fiddle Rognås and his son Hannes.”
Gorgeous Children” continues in the vein of classic Uriah Heep with a nice proggy touch without getting complicated. Singer Ulrich Carlsson from M.ILL.ION has sung with the band since the reunion and his vocals fit the group well. The remaining two newcomers (since the gathering, that is) are bass player Robert Ottosson and drummer Stefan Husar who perform their musical duties to perfection.
Shaggy truly feels like a tightly-knit unity. To return to the album – “Laughing Boy Crying,” has a crisp, almost folkish touch and made me think of Irish rockers Horslips, which is excellent in my book. The title track continues in the same folk-influenced vein, while the next track “Mystery Man” is in a slightly softer thread. I like the variety.” Thunder And Lightning” take us back to the fields of classic Uriah Heep, but with guitar harmonies, which you never hear with Heep (since Mick Box is the bands only guitarist, so no wonder).
I do, however, have to say I think this is even better than the stuff Uriah Heep has produced lately, and I love Heep!! The CDr version (only released in 100 copies) has two bonus tracks, starting with “Rainbow’s End Pt 1” Also featured on the vinyl as a bonus track) style-wise fits well with the rest of the material. A quite melodic straight-ahead number. The final bonus track, “Hello Goodbye” (on the CDr only), is a more mainstream, slightly poppy thing, ironically with a touch of Cheap Trick and The Beatles. All in all, an excellent record from a band that has never disappointed me and highly recommended! The CDr and LP
released in 100 hand-numbered copies! Get it while you can.