While Herman's Hermits couldn't keep up with the revolutionary sounds created in 1967 by the Beatles, Cream, or Jimi Hendrix, they did manage to release pop records that steadily revealed maturity, especially evident on Blaze, their final MGM studio release. At the helm once again was producer Mickie Most, who incorporated production (and studio musicians) on par with his burgeoning Donovan hits (whose "Museum" is covered here) and similar sounding material by the Hollies. The lyrical content continued to mature with Ray Davies-style subject matter previously highlighted by "There's a Kind of Hush" and "Dandy." Unfortunately, the teen idol image of front man Peter Noone was becoming a double-edged sword, as he was starting to be replaced by a new generation of teen idols, while not being able to make the transition into hip 1967. The original cover, a kaleidoscopic view of the band members in Sgt. Pepper-type threads, wasn't enough to regain their declining credibility. Blaze has a short running time at only five songs per side but includes great lost pop songs like "Last Bus Home," "I Call Out Her Name," and "Upstairs, Downstairs." MGM put out The Best of Herman's Hermits, Vol. 3 and called it a day with the band, leaving Blaze to languish as an unappreciated pop gasp.
AllMusic Review by Al Campbell