Following the breakout success of Phenomenon and Force It, UFO had finally ascended to the first division of British hard rock. And after hiring a second guitarist and keyboard player in Danny Peyronnel, Schenker and Mogg led the group back into the studio to record their fifth album, No Heavy Petting. A noticeably cautious effort, Petting stuck so close to the rules laid down by Force It that all the excitement of the band's performance wound up slipping through the cracks. Gutsy opener "Natural Thing" was competent enough to become a concert regular, but lukewarm material like "Can You Roll Her" and "Reasons Love" simply added nothing new. And bass player Pete Way didn't help things any with his only contribution, the plodding, amazingly dull "On with the Action." Even the album's best moment, the beautifully executed "I'm a Loser" (which unleashes Schenker for one of his most jaw-dropping solos ever), mimics Force It's "Out in the Street" before closing with a piano pattern straight out of progressive rockers Kansas' "No One Together." The overly dramatic "Belladonna" (complete with synthesizer-simulated harpsichord), on the other hand, is mostly a casualty of time; the kind of ballad that was effective enough in its time, but simply hasn't aged well. Thankfully, UFO would rebound in spades the following year, delivering their best all-around studio effort, Lights Out.
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