Although Michael Schenker is not involved, UFO's 2006 release The Monkey Puzzle sees four-fifths of the classic lineup back in place -- singer Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way, guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond, and drummer Andy Parker are all back on board. However, the group has hired certainly no slouch to replace Schenker on the six-string: Vinnie Moore. While they've taken numerous stabs over the years at replicating the magic of when Schenker is present -- with varying results -- tracks such as "Who's Fooling Who" and "Down by the River" contain the classic UFO sound, and certainly wouldn't have sounded out of place on Lights Out or Obsession. Elsewhere, Mogg sings in a much more gravelly style than what he's accustomed to, especially on the Zeppelin-esque "Heavenly Body." Some fans will never accept UFO sans Schenker. But for those who do, The Monkey Puzzle is certainly one of UFO's stronger non-Schenker studio efforts.
The Monkey Puzzle Review
by Greg Prato