FASTWAY: ‘Fastway’ (CBS 25359)

NOW that all the hysteria and general furore surrounding the Fast Ones departure from the ‘Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Busy’ world of Motorhead’sville has died down, one can approach this review with quite a balanced perspective and initial hearings make it pretty damn obvious why CIarke snapped during the infamous Plasmatics pantomime saga. Landsakes Martha! This man’s a serious muso and the albums general overall diversity/light and shade male it a pretty apparent that his personal ambitions have long since strayed away from Motorhead’s musical highway.

In fact the difference between this piece of plastic and Iron Fist is so vast that there aren’t words big enough in my dictionary encapsulate the enormity of the chasm that split the terrifying triumvirate. It’s interesting to note that since the upheaval MH have taken more serious course/stance and judging by recent ruff mixes unleashed on my lobes in recent weeks the emphasis now weighs heavily on arrangements, quality songs and more than a slight emphasis on guitar playing although it must be pointed out that this
refreshing/optimistic yet still energetic outlook would not have occurred without an upheaval in the ranks and the split was imminent/on the cards
long before the arrival of oh’ gaffa nipples, Wendy 0.

In Fastway, Clarke has been fortunate enough to employ the services of two dynamite musicians name Dave King (vocals/acoustic guitar) and ex Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley whose deaf and dumbing is a sheer revelation. The man is a heavyweight from the old school tradition that reared such forces as the late/great John Bonham and in fact he is one of the most impressive players I’ve heard since the tragic demise of the ex Zeppelinite. Shirley s thunderous presence is felt throughout the album, giving Fastway the ultimate HM seal of approval. King is a demonic dynamo of a crooner with a range that has the stun power of a giant size can of mace. People have already compared him to a young Percy Plant but overall his contribution to the album sounds more reminiscent of early Geddy Lee. His phrasing and delivery reveal his blues roots – a singer with so much passion and feeling is a rare commodity these days. Clarke never fails to surprise and impress me with some fiery, thoughtful lead work and searing riffing – all quite a step away from his forte with MH although he hasn’t lost his penchant for power rook.

The icing on the old Kerrang-like cake is Eddie Kramer’s dynamic production work and judging by this masterwork should re-establish him in the top dog league along with other Mutts. Standouts have to be ‘Another Day’, ‘Give It All You Got’, ‘Heft’ along with ‘Easy Livin” which should be in the charts. By the time the group hits the live circuit all the songs will have achieved classic status.

And friends what’s more than this, he did it Fastway!

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