For those whose only memory of The Amazing World of Arthur Brown is the classic song “Fire” from way back in the late ’60’s, this new release from the band and artist may just rock your world. Brown could very well be the most electrifying one-hit wonders ever to hit it big, topping both the American and British charts with the near-demonic song back in 1968 while notching a decent showing for the album it came from as well, before drifting into obscurity, briefly stopping to snag a role in The Who’s movie Tommy as the priest and recording a few more solo albums along the way.
As always, Brown’s almost unnaturally powerful and charismatic vocals are his drawing card, and they are the reason you will want to check out this album. Almost unchanged since his early days, his voice powers this set and those who like him will like this album and those hating his voice will no doubt scurry away in disgust. Though Brown’s songwriting is quite accomplished, nothing overshadows the man’s pipes and it’s a love it or hate it kind of thing. The sound of the album itself is glorious. Recorded in analogue (as are most of my favorite albums these days – take that digital!) there is a lot of room for the instruments to breathe, as it were, and one can easily tell the care put into making this album sound precisely the way Brown and his co-horts wanted it. There has never been any sort of middle ground with Brown and I don’t think anything’s going to change that, certainly not this album.
Will there be another big hit for Brown? I doubt it. Few people remember who he is, though his song still gets airplay on the classic rock stations. But this is a fine album, one of many in Brown’s oft-overlooked career. While this won’t sell gangbusters, if there’s justice this will sell enough to form the groundwork for an exciting second act in the career of the eccentric singer/songwriter.