COLOURED BALLS — Heavy Metal Kid (review)

COLOURED BALLS — Heavy Metal Kid album cover Album · 1974 · Proto-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
Outside Australia, John (Barry) Lyde, AKA Lobby Loyde seems to be a relative unknown:

The son of two multi-talented musicians, exposed at an early age to the latest R&B, Jazz and Blues sounds, he found his feet in rock music very early, joining a group called Devil's Disciples in the late 1950s.

In 1965, he was a member of The Impacts (not the Melbourne group), who supported The Rolling Stones and released a cover of a Graham Bond song later that year. In October 1968, he joined up with the legendary Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.

Coloured Balls were formed in 1972, and their first album was originally slated to be called "Rock Your Arse Off" - doncha just love these guts already?

Of course, a chickenshit record company wasn't going to release an album with that name - indeed, it didn't get released until 1976, as "The First Supper Last". What a cop-out. With songs like "Liberate Rock" and "G.O.D. (Guitar OverDose - do you see what they did there?), the guys had a trajectory set for metal goodness.

After Supporting Marc Bolan and T-Rex, CB released their highly acclaimed debut, Ball Power, and this, their second album, around 6 months later.

The music it's a real hit-and miss thing - where it hits, it hits hard, and where it misses, it can get pretty awful.

The title track blasts things off - and it's a belter, based on Deep Purple's "Stormbringer" until the chorus chants of "Heavy Metal", and the obtuse, spine-tingling bridge section. The comedy rock ending is a real treat. If all the music was like this, I'd have no hesitation comparing the album to Sweet's "Fanny Adams".

The lyrics are a real call to arms;

Speak up I can’t hear what you’re saying Still can’t dig the game you are playing We should all be praying even you HEAVY METAL HEAVY METAL HEAVY METAL Blinding stuff.

Here's the but - and it's a big but...

"Do It" is a bit disappointingly traditional rock stuff, "Just Because" has punk attitude running in its veins, alongside a huge Skynyrd influence, and some mellifluous soloing, and "Baby I Don't Care" is a dose of pure Rock and Roll (as in 1950's rock and roll) silliness.

"Private Eye" begins a bit more like it, with a huge "Peter Gunn" style riff, which is returned to, thankfully, as the rest of the song is rather light. The lyrics make a reasonable engrossing story about a guy who was pushed around at school, then became a private detective, "too cool for words".

"See What I Mean" is a tasteful ballad, but not really of interest, "Dance To The Music" is a bit of filler - a light boogie thing that gets monotonous instantly and "Yes and No" is completely inexplicable filler nonsense.

"Back To You" is a welcome return to the rock - and you can imagine Metallica covering this one - it's a bit like something off a Budgie or early Priest album. The burn-out is from heaven - or hell, if you prefer. Wherever that place is that you're taken to when you hear an awesome driving, metallic instrumental with spine-chilling, hair-raising tendencies in truckloads.

A bit of a shock next - I'm not sure if this is intended to be Zappa-esque, but there's an element there in the rocked-up Doo-Wop of "Need Your Love".

"Sitting Bull" sounds like a tribute to Geronimo, the American Indian band to start with, then descends into drivel. "Custer's Last Stand" is a much more macho thing, with a muscular main riff and tasteful soloing driving this short instrumental.

Disappointingly, "Metal Feathers" isn't a Budgie tribute, or particularly metal - it's a synth/acoustic couple of minutes of floatiness sounding a bit like a Hawkwind out-take.

"Tin Tango" is a welcome return to the heaviness, remaining in the Hawkwind vein, but at the heavy end of the spectrum, with wooey noises inexpertly wafting around. "Summation (U Baby) is yet another couple of minutes of "Shit, boys, we've got a whole album's worth of time to fill - how do we do it?"

In summary, a very, very disappointing album with perhaps 3 decent hard-rocking tunes on it which are head and shoulders above most of the drivel coming out of Australia in the early 1970s - Buffalo aside.

2 stars, because the good stuff is very good. But you've been warned about the not so good stuff. It's not intrinsically bad, but it makes the album feel like a padded-out mish-mash of well-executed but terrible ideas, with no overall consistency.

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