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Squawk is the 2nd album by Welsh rock legends Budgie. Budgie are a band that I weren't particularly familiar with until recently since when they have been selected quite regularly by the DJ's and listeners on Planet Rock. I decided to give one of their albums a go, which happened to be this one - Squawk.
With a song like "Hot as a Docker's Armpit", it was always going to grab my attention! Behind the entertaining song titles was a band that were a little less exciting though. Whilst the guitar riffs are not particularly original or unique and remind me of a classic rock riff to a song you never know the name of, they are still rather infectious.
The lyrics are acceptable but it's the voice that gets me, I can take the Zeppelinesque style, but occasionally it just gets either far too high or slows down for a thoughtful melodious ballad and sounds like the modern day trashy pop that plies the radio airwaves.
At it's time it was probably quite a breakthrough in rock but it doesn't stand out particularly strongly now, although the music is still listenable. Some label this as early heavy metal and whilst the NWOBHM bands certainly took their inspiration from hard rock and glam bands before, I think that this album is very much rooted in hard rock.
1. "Whiskey River" - 3:27
2. "Rocking Man" - 5:25
3. "Rolling Home Again" - 1:47
4. "Make Me Happy" - 2:37
5. "Hot as a Docker's Armpit" - 5:53
6. "Drug Store Woman" - 3:14
7. "Bottled" - 1:57
8. "Young Is a World" - 8:14
9. "Stranded" - 6:17
Budgie's second album is a slight disappointment after the first, at least for those who enjoyed the Black Sabbathesque doom metal of the self-titled debut that is largely absent here, favouring a more hard rock approach in the style of Led Zeppelin. The sludgy guitar tone still occasionally rears its head from the murky depths, but is stilted by upbeat harmonies in 'Drugstore Woman,' and if Tony Bourge's riffs were a little lacking in originality on the previous album they're practically screaming out for some inspiration here.
Everything about this album takes a slight step down from the first, not least Burke Shelley's vocals which have become rather irritating in their whine, and serve to date this further in a bad way, rather than the historically intriguing way the first album was dated. The lyrics are of no interest, full of bland similes (especially in 'Rocking Man'), and weirdly the songs that seem designed to be self-consciously different are grouped together, which sees the Beatles-like acoustic 'Rolling Home Again' immediately succeeded by the acoustic and piano ballad 'Make Me Happy,' something that would have severely weakened the overall quality of the first album, had it been present there. On this album, it's merely one disappointment among several.
It's not all bad though, and fans of classic hard rock should enjoy the Zeppelinesque style of most songs, particularly those with looser structures that take time out for solos and bas sections, such as 'Hot as a Docker's Armpit.' Still, there's a nagging feeling throughout that this album isn't all it could have been, with the bland instrumental 'Bottled' and tedious slow song 'Young Is a World' only been made up for ever so slightly with the fun finale 'Stranded.' It's certainly not as dynamic an album as the artwork might suggest.
1. Whiskey River
2. Rocking Man
3. Rolling Home Again
4. Make Me Happy
5. Hot as a Docker's Armpit
6. Drugstore Woman
8. Young Is a World
1. Whiskey River / 2. Rocking Man / 3. Rolling Home Again / 4. Make Me Happy / 5. Hot As a Docker's Armpit / 6. Drugstore Woman / 7. Young is a World / 8. Stranded / 9. Whiskey River / 10. Young is a World / 11. Rolling Home Again /12. Rolling Home Again ( 2004 Version )