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Peter French - Ducks In Flight album review

Polished late-70s mainstream hard rock

Cover art for Peter French - Ducks In Flight album

Renowned for fronting both Leafhound and Atomic Rooster, with this 1978 solo album Peter French took the somewhat surprising step of eschewing the heavy underground trademarks of both these bands and going for a more commercial approach. And it worked.

There are influences from the likes of Bad Company, The Faces and Thin Lizzy here, on songs which are sharp with real melodic attitude. Moreover, French brought in a battery of highly proficient musicians to help out. From guitarists Brian Robertson and Micky Moody to drummers Henry Spinetti and Kenney Jones and keyboard player Tim Hinkley, the line-up gives the album a genuine feel of being a bunch of pals having fun, and in the process making a coherent sound.

From the funk-fuelled opener Slipped And Stumbled, almost everything here has an upbeat momentum, with Shame, Shame, Schoolday and Hold Me Take Me having a swagger that even Rod Stewart would envy. Only on the rather mundane Without You does the pace slacken. Otherwise this is a purposeful success. The pity is that it’s French’s sole solo album.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.