Review by Tymell for Motörhead - Ace of Spades (1980) Review by Tymell for Motörhead - Ace of Spades (1980)

Tymell Tymell / November 24, 2019 / 0

Lemmy himself, before he decided to say "Fuck it," and take his skills on tour into the afterlife, said that Motörhead was never a heavy metal band. That might seem like an odd statement regarding a band that is pivotal to the genre to so many, but it always made perfect sense to me. For me, Motörhead's big appeal has always been that they so deftly and so naturally bridge the worlds of punk, heavy metal and rock 'n' roll, without confining themselves to any one sphere. It's the classic rock 'n' roll attitude, punk's endearing recklessness and heavy metal's razor-sharp edge, all married so well, and Ace of Spades is one of the albums that represents that in its purest, though not perfect, form.

It's a perfect summary of the Motörhead sound really, the soundtrack of a filthy, sleazy, smoke-filled, booze-fuelled dive bar and all the seedy, crazy goings-on that happen there. Its greatest strength is the consistency of this attitude, for there isn't really a true dud here, and the best offerings here are some of the best of even the full and extensive Motörhead catalogue.

So why only the 3.5/5? Well, as heretical as it might be to say it, it's because those best songs really overshadow the rest and can make a lot of the album feel fairly disposable. At its best, it's fantastic: "Please Don't Touch" is an irresistible groove, with Lemmy at his gravelliest. "We Are the Road Crew" is a true mantra to the rough and tumble of the crew on the road. "Love Me Like a Reptile" bouncy, almost boogie-woogie kind of riff is crazy fun, making you think of a tougher, darker Beach Boys. "Ace of Spades" is a fucking classic in every sense of the word, and there's nothing I could say that would properly convey the wild, raucous fun of it, nothing that you as a reader don’t, no doubt, already know.

But in all honesty, the rest of the album, while still consistent and enjoyable enough, doesn't measure up to those. It's a fun, punchy thesis on what Motörhead is all about, but I can't truthfully say I ever find myself reaching for anything but those above 4 tracks. Those are essentials, but that's just it: those are the only essentials here. If we're talking about the album as a whole (and we are), it's good, but a lot of it doesn't demand to be revisited as much as those classics songs that so perfectly capture the lightning in a whisky bottle vibe.

Choice cuts: Ace of Spades, We Are the Road Crew, Please Don't Touch, Love Me Like a Reptile

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