Get Your Wings

Not Rated

Maintaining an agile balance between Yardbirds- and Who-styled rock and Seventies heavy metal, Aerosmith's second album surges with pent-up fury yet avoids the excesses to which many of their peers succumb. The music of the five-member group contains the vital elements of economy and control — no ill-advised solo extravaganzas. The snarling chords of guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford tautly propel each number, jibing neatly with the rawness of singer Steven Tyler, whose discipline is evident no matter how he shrieks, growls, or spits out the lyrics.

Throughout Get Your Wings the group consistently integrates their influences into their own approach. On "Spaced," Whitford unleashes a barrage of Townshend-inspired chords, by now an Aerosmith trademark, while the choppy rhythm and horn work of "Pandora's Box" are a hard-rock interpretation of soul, suggesting the Stones. "Seasons Of Wither" is a surprising change of pace, a haunting arrangement that creates a rough-hewn prettiness. The group's dynamics are expert, deftly blending the hard and soft interludes. Perry makes exceptional use of feedback at the end, while Tyler's restraint reveals a Led Zeppelin influence.

"Train Kept A Rollin'," a reworking of the Yardbirds' classic, is a master demonstration of their style. Their new arrangement begins by retaining the feel of the earlier work, only to cleverly segue into what sounds like a live take, although it was recorded in the studio. They then execute a near-duplication of the Yardbirds' performance that stands remarkably well on its own. That cut proves they've absorbed yet varied the styles of their mentors, creating their own in the process. They think 1966 and play 1974 — something which a lot of groups would like to boast.