Melody Maker, December 18, 1971


"Hold Your Fire" 



Patto have been so long in the business, working at survival, and failing just short of making it in a substantial way, that they’ve now got no time for the pretensions which usually arise when a band has the luxury of laying back and thinking a little about directions. They’re a great blowing band – certainly the best I’ve seen perform in clubs for a long time. But this album, their second reveals certain shortcomings which are not so apparent when they’re looning around on stage and getting you of with the general Patto ambiance.

Their lyrics rather suffer from a paranoiac out look of seeing everything in terms of "us and them", the longhair persecuted by society, and generally, I get the impression that the band struggles somewhat in its writing. There are only eight numbers on this album, and several of them rely on the repetition of verses, while one cut "Air-Raid Shelter", is repeated twice over. These two factors, though, shouldn’t deter any one from buying it.

Though there’s a painstaking air about the compositions, two of them are outstanding, albeit for different reasons. The title track, which opens the first side, is a picaresque tale "I was rolling up grass in the American flag and I was sick from snorting ‘C’." On another level, "You, You Point Your Finger" is a much more solemn affair with its "Masters Of War"-type lyric, but the tune itself is genuinely pretty and wistful, and Mike Patto sings it with a gentle deftness that I hadn’t heard from him before.

Above all, the musicianship and technical expertise is good. It’s a much morn skillfully-put together album than the last one, full of neat touches, like the weepy fuzz guitar at the end of "Finger". Listen to "Air-Raid Shelter", where John Halsey does some lively fast cymbal work while Olly Halsall boogies. Or take in the short, but furious, solo on "Hold Your Fire", You'll see what I mean.

The point is: this is a flawed album, but that doesn’t preclude it’s enjoyment. – M.W.

Note: Not certain who M.W. is, but it is probably Michael Watts who also did live reviews of the band for Melody Maker.


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