Uriah Heep - Living The Dream album review

Mick Box and co. notch up album number 25 in fine and furious style

Uriah Heep - Living The Dream
Uriah Heep - Living The Dream

1. Grazed By Heaven
2. Living The Dream
3. Take Away My Soul
4. Knocking At My Door
5. Rocks In The Road
6. Waters Flowin’
7. It’s All Been Said
8. Goodbye To Innocence
9. Falling Under Your Spell
10. Dreams Of Yesteryear

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Tucked mischievously away at the back end of Uriah Heep’s 25th studio album, Falling Under Your Spell could well be the best song the British legends have written since the early 70s. Admittedly, it’s a dead spit for the immortal Easy Livin’, and that may be why the band opted to keep it as a belated treat, rather than placing it front and centre. But what a song it is, all propelled along by that unmistakable turbocharged shuffle, as Phil Lanzon’s rampaging, fiery keys fill up the foreground and the increasingly irresistible Bernie Shaw bellows his veteran head off. The chorus is huge, the energy levels are somewhat startling for a band of this vintage and, most importantly, Falling Under Your Spell sounds weirdly, satisfyingly current. It’s further evidence of Uriah Heep’s unerring ability to keep forging ahead and delivering the goods. 

While certain more successful peers have flattered to deceive with patchy albums and questionable live performances, Mick Box’s crew never lost the vitality that made their early records so thrilling. Even ignoring that one standout classic, Living The Dream is as strong as anything the band have produced in two, maybe three decades. It begins with Grazed By Heaven, another barrelling, none-more-Heep hard rocker that sets out the album’s stall in simple terms: this is more of the glorious same, yes, but imbued with a very contemporary sense of sonic heft, those trademark five-way harmonies sparkling with freshness and verve as the song’s angular, prog-fuelled central riff works its clattering magic. 

The title track is another inch-perfect and strident anthem, Shaw’s soulful roar conveying the song’s mixed emotions with casual authority. Album centrepiece Rocks In The Road is the other moment on Living The Dream when it’s impossible to imagine any long-term Heep fans not losing their shit. Eight minutes long and gently redolent of past triumphs like July Morning and Salisbury, it erupts into bombast worthy of The Who but sounds less like an exercise in reverent retro rock than a wholesale upgrade for this band’s prog sensibilities. The remaining songs are all brimming with golden moments, both reassuringly classic and thrillingly fresh, with Waters Flowin’ standing out as a shimmering, acid folk detour and the closing Dreams Of Yesteryear bringing everything to a melancholy but satisfactory conclusion. A staggering 49 years in, Heep are still living the dream and making it look easy.