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Thin Lizzy - Fighting (Reissue Album Review)

Friday, 20 April 2012 Written by James Ball
Thin Lizzy - Fighting (Reissue Album Review)

So, the year is 1975. Tom Baker has just settled into his role as the Fourth Doctor; The Beano comic cost 4p per issue, Margaret Thatcher was still four years away from becoming one of Britain's most famous Prime Ministers, and I was still a full ten years from being born.

ImageIt's also the year before Thin Lizzy released their seminal release 'Jailbreak'. The year before the single of the same name and, most notably, 'The Boys are Back in Town'. They had already carved their own place in the British rock scene though as the earlier success of 'Whiskey in the Jar' had already proved, and this release, 'Fighting', is sowing all the seeds that would bloom with incredible results one year later.

So, what would you come to expect from it? Well, if you've ever heard 'The Boys are Back in Town' then pretty much thirty-five minutes of songs that dip a toe into what that song sounds like. Uptempo bouncing dual-guitar pomp-rock with a real electric edge to it, especially during the album's many impressive and complimentary solos. Put simply, this record rocks the socks off much of what gets released today as well as containing tinges of Pink Floyd's most epic opuses and Status Quo's most fun tunes mixed in there. This is a feeling especially noticeable during the albums third track 'Suicide', a track with as much pomp and long hair as you'd expect it to have, and it's glorious for it as a result.

Even during the slower tracks, such as 'Wild One', the guitars happily cascade all over each other at such a rate the ears struggle to keep up. It's utterly glorious to listen to, to just sit back in your chair and take in every single note and remember how good we had it. The 70s were generally kind to us with some of the acts that had broken through huge, or were just about to do so, and while Thin Lizzy often get remembered more for a handful of songs, based on the strength of this album, they should really start to get recognised for putting together great records too.

The beauty of this record is mostly held in how simple it is to listen to. There's a lot of records that can be classed loosely as 'Hard Rock' which are exactly that, hard. Crunching guitars, screaching vocals, million-miles-per-hour drums, and the kind of bass line which could rip your brain in two given the chance. 'Fighting', despite its title, doesn't do any of those, but still sounds like a truly classic rock record. It's dark enough in places to remain adult and intense, but generally keeps itself on the right side of the level. It balances well with enough fluff to make it light and easy on the ear, but enough stomp to keep it truly entrenched in the “rock” genre.

A personal highlight though worth mentioning is the excellent 'Spirit Slips Away', a track nestled two-thirds of the way though. The drums are constant and simplistic, the guitars are the usual mix of deep and distorted combined with twiddly and showy. The lyrics are sung with great mourning, passion and emotion, and the bass just subtly keeps everything else in check. So far it just ticks the boxes of a “good” slow song, but it's the atmosphere each verse has before it slides carefully into a chorus, and how it just fades away with wind effects in the end. The track is intricate and careful, but doesn't sound as soulless as some of the more ballady pop tracks you get in this decade.

As well as the ten original tracks on offer from the original 1975 release, you also get a bonus full-length second disc complete with the usual array of B-sides, secondary recordings and alternate takes, all of which if you're a completest are definitely worth having. A lot of it is rough around the edges and a bit shaky, and some of it doesn't even include all the original instruments which makes for some very interesting takes on the album tracks, but all that makes it sound more that little bit more real, which is utterly key for any rock release. If you already have the original, there's plenty of content on the second disc to make this purchase worth it.

If you don't have the original though, there's plenty of quality content on this release to make it essential.

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