Ignore the fact that the opening title track sounds almost exactly like the intro to Neil Young's "Ohio" and Patto's second album kicks into gear from the moment needle strikes vinyl. A driving fiesta of good-time bluesy-rock, Hold Your Fire retains just enough of its predecessor's jazz fusion sensibilities to ensure that you're never sure what will happen next, but similarly imbibes sufficient oxygen from elsewhere on the early-'70s British rock underground to line up alongside any other primal gem of the age. Certainly producer Muff Winwood seems considerably more at ease than he did his last time around, hauling Ollie Halsall's tuneful soloing high up in the mix and framing the album's best tracks -- the melancholy "You, You Point Your Finger" among them -- within some breathtakingly lovely arrangements. Another highlight, the funky Faces-like "See You at the Dance Tonight," almost single-handedly blueprints the best of the still-unborn pub rock boom, while Halsall's playful "Air Raid Shelter" would not have been out of place on Hold Your Fire, which further proves that not all of Patto's early instincts have been suppressed. Neither do the surprises stop with the music. Hold Your Fire was released in positively the most un-Roger Dean-like sleeve design to which Dean ever put his name. There again, vast spacescapes filled with floating islands and flying elephants were never really Patto's forte -- not when the alternative offers barefoot cops, scantily clad damsels, and hippies bearing colorful mushrooms.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson