After cornering the hard rock market in 1975 with the international success of Hair of the Dog, Nazareth surprised fans and listeners alike the next year when they traded that style for a softer, more AOR approach on Close Enough for Rock & Roll. The resulting album isn't as successful as their previous one, but is a tuneful affair that offers plenty of highlights for the Nazareth fan. This time out, they go for an across-the-board experimental approach that covers everything from their traditional hard rock to country-rock and even straight pop tunes. The ultimate example of this experimentation is "Telegram," a four-part rock opera about life on tour for a rock band that starts as a frenzied rocker and ends a piano-led sing-along. Other strong tracks include "You're the Violin," a hard rocking love song that includes plenty of inventive guitar work to bring its music as love metaphors to life, and "Carry Out Feelings," a poppy love lament that successfully incorporates a reggae groove into the band's sound. Although hard rock is downplayed in general on this album, Close Enough for Rock & Roll does sport a few sharp rockers: "Born Under the Wrong Side" uses driving voice box guitar riffs to create a menacing atmosphere, and "Lift the Lid" is an effective slice of boogie rock. All in all, Close Enough for Rock & Roll is too unfocused to fully succeed as an album but offers solid tunes and the quality musicianship necessary to back them up. Casual fans may want to pick up the album's radio hits on a compilation, but this album is a worthwhile listen for the hardcore Nazareth addict.
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco