Shortly after ‘Summer Jam’ [see separate review] and ‘Rock Your Arse Off’, and with a different and definitive lineup – Ian Millar having replaced Fordham on second guitar – the band released a slew of singles, including the excellent and ferocious b-side ‘Devil’s Disciple’ (backing ‘Mess of the Blues’). Then came their proper debut album, the classic ‘Ball Power’ [EMI, 1973], the subject of this review. A month previously, they’d supported Marc Bolan and T. Rex on their Australian tour. Bolan’s narcissistic glam approach must have been in stark contrast to the streetwise, unpretentious and amiable hardcases that were the Balls, who’d usually perform in t-shirts and denim jeans or something similarly low-key and didn’t go in for posing or rock star ambitions. At one Balls gig pissed lead man Lobby Loyde was seen to walk over to the side of the stage to puke behind an amp before returning to front and center, without stopping playing or missing a beat. You wouldn’t see Bolan doing that... that sort of thing is why Steve Peregrine Took got the shove, after all, and it just wouldn’t do to have chunder on the glittery gear now, would it? Anyway, not to say that Balls fans weren’t likely to get into glam rock, just that their taste lay more towards Slade and Suzi Quatro.
‘Ball Power’ is full of raw, hard guitar rock and proto-punk with some boogie and rock’n’roll influences, and some slightly ‘progressive’ lengthier rockers. The songs and riffs are primitive and the band seem a little short on ideas, but they go at it with great gusto, and for me their direct and raw rocking charm outweighs any concerns about their limitations. People who don’t get into this sort of thing might not agree, but I think the Coloured Balls didn’t sound quite like anyone else, though arguably some slight comparisons can be made to some aspects of the Pink Fairies, the MC5, the Up, the Groundhogs (on a caveman trip), Taste, Stack Waddy, Third World War, Hammersmith Gorillas, Hard Stuff, Agnes Strange and early AC/DC. (more...) (buy it)
Coloured Balls - Flash