Remastered re-release of the third and the last full-length studio album by legendary British Jazz Rock/Fusion/Hard Rock band.
Ian Gillan never sounded entirely comfortable in the first incarnation of the Ian Gillan Band, quite likely because his colleagues were more interested in Progressive Rock than he was. Not that Gillan was adverse to Prog (after all this was the Ian Gillan Band, and if he didn't want to move in this direction, he wouldn't), but he never sounded entirely comfortable with it. That much was certain from "Clear Air Turbulence", a full-fledged exploration into Jazz Fusion and Prog Rock where the band sounded at ease and the singer sounded tentative, which was perhaps the reason Ian Gillan Band did a 180 for their third album, "Scarabus".
Released a mere six months after "Clear Air Turbulence", "Scarabus" rocks considerably harder than its predecessor, but there are still flourishes of their more Experimental inclinations, particularly how they easily fall into a Funk Fusion groove. Their presence only emphasizes how Gillan sounds best when he's simply rocking. And he does get the occasional chance to do that here, but too often the riffs are transparently complicated, not catchy, or the music breaks into contrived Jazzy instrumentals. Compared to "Clear Air Turbulence", "Scarabus" does sound like unadulterated Hard Rock, but it never rocks with abandon; it always sounds self-conscious. That self-consciousness is only enhanced by the lack of strong material - "Mad Elaine" does come close to being memorable, but most of the songs sound like excuses to Rock.
Even if "Scarabus" is a failure, it is interesting for longtime Gillan fans, since it does offer proof that Ian Gillan Band were talented musicians who just couldn't quite deliver the Hard Rock their singer craved. Listening to "Scarabus" in retrospect, it's little wonder that he disbanded Ian Gillan Band after this album.
The CD reissue included an extra track, "My Baby Loves Me", recorded live at the Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on 22 September 1977, that was originally part of the double LP set “Live At The Budokan”, and had been omitted from the UK release in error.
Eagle Records, 1977/1989/1998 (EAMCD048). Made in UK.
1. Scarabus 4:54
2. Twin Exhausted 4:09
3. Poor Boy Hero 3:09
4. Mercury High 3:32
5. Pre-Release 4:23
6. Slags To Bitches 5:11
7. Apathy 4:15
8. Mad Elaine 4:19
9. Country Lights 3:17
10. Fool's Mate 4:18
11. My Baby Loves Me 8:11
Total playing time: 49:38 min.