FASTWAY — Fastway (review)

FASTWAY — Fastway album cover Album · 1983 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
The band FASTWAY was an interesting creation of the 80s that was founded by disgruntled members of successful 70s bands who decided to have a go at some sort of veteran’s supergroup. The band was pioneered by guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke who played with Motorhead from 1977-82 and bassist Pete Way who played with UFO from the beginning in 1970 until 1982. The duo recruited another seasoned musician with Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley and then topped off the final seat with the completely unknown Dave King, the Irish vocalist and harmonica player who would become more famous with his Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. Ironically Pete Way discovered in the process that he was obliged to fulfill his previous recording contract and also got a lucrative offer to play with Ozzy Osbourne thus leaving the band before they even began to record their eponymous debut album. The session bass player Mickey Feat was recruited to fill his shoes and finally in May 1983 the band released their first album to find an unexpected bout with success mostly due to the heavy MTV rotation of videos for “Say What You Will,” “We Become One” and “Easy Livin” (which is not a cover of the Uriah Heep track of the same name)

Musically FASTWAY is a heavier version of 70s hard boogie blues rock incorporating the sounds of their previous bands. Anyone familiar with Motorhead’s early canon will immediately recognize Clarke’s distinct guitar riffing chops that are quite similar to those on albums like “Ace Of Spades” although FASTWAY has a more diverse sound in the compositions than any of the bands that the three veterans had been a part of. Despite many feet still in the 70s, the youthful energy of vocalist Dave King is what really puts this band on a higher level. With his Robert Plant looks and vocal control to match along with the help of early glam metal hairspray action allowed their sound (and looks) to catch on with a younger audience and become one of the earliest Led Zeppelin styled bands to garner minor success via the MTV video revolution. With heavy bluesy grooves, heavy driving bass lines and King’s distinct passionate vocals FASTWAY proved that the 70s thing was still a viable musical expression despite the world seemingly being taken over by new wave and synthpop.

While the lyrics are typical “sing-about-nothing” type glam metal, musically the tracks are quite catchy with a fast tempo heft that stomps out one head bangin’ groove after the next. King’s voice elevates the music to ecstatic heights and the fact that the tracks all sound distinct from one another makes FASTWAY a pretty addicting repeated listen. The pure blues rock track “Far Far From Home” appeared originally on vinyl pressing but was actually a promotional single and was excluded from many other formats. The track has been included on CD releases but not on the 2-fer “Fastway / All Fired Up” comp of their first two albums. If you ask me, i’d say at this stage FASTWAY sound like a hybrid of early Motorhead and Led Zeppelin at their heaviest. While i like every track on this one, i find tracks like the acoustic opening “Another Day,” the slinking groove of “Heft!” and the multi-moodswing oriented “We Become One” gets my vote as best tracks although the catchy straight forward tracks like “Easy Livin” and “Say What You Will” are excellently addictive injections to grab your attention. Somewhat forgotten in the vast annals of music history but FASTWAY still has a few staunch followers mostly due to this excellent debut.
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Unitron wrote:
11 months ago
Really great album this one, recently picked it up on vinyl at a thrift store.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
11 months ago
I like this one a bit better. It's a smoother listen. All Fired Up is their second best IMHO before they went down more pop rock territory. You should check this one out for sure :)
11 months ago
I always had this album in mind for a couple of years but ended up buying All Fired Up instead when it was released. Seems like I missed out... ?

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