The one unifying factor coursing through Max Webster's magnificent premiere was a rural warmth that evoked images of. I dunno. Carved cherry wood. In comparison, High Class In Borrowed Shoes, although no heavier, evokes a sheen of polished aluminum, with its bright, uncompromising headphone-ready drum sound, its everlite, dewdropped piano work, and its painstakingly perfect execution.
But High Class sails the same passionate seas of wanton adventure, offering arguably four metal or hard rock works, most panoramic, scorching and insistent being America's Veins and the swooping and snatching title track, the song improbably combining boogie and pomp until circumstance breeds good fortune. Lyricist Pye Dubois, although not an official noise-making member of the band (in the great tradition of The Dead's Robert Hunter), continues to be the Max Webster's philosophical engine and perfect, crucial soulmate to Kim Mitchell's fluid guitar mathematics, Pye offering memorable yet cryptically cast aspersions on society's ills and man's monologue with respect to his allotted space.
And as was the case with the debut, all points of the compass lead to the heart no matter what the action level, the album scrubbed clean then chiming by way of elegant Terry Watkinson keyboard work, and absolutely top-of-the-line pride in craftsmanship on the part of the whole circus. It seems almost a mixed symbol that the band would so plainly embrace controversy with the gender-bending weirdness of the cover art, given that all parties involved, including producer Terry Brown, worked so hard to make Max's challenges so warmly inviting and simultaneously so state-of-the-art. It basically stands as more evidence that the complexities of both Max's message and its medium were beyond marketing comprehension, and unfortunately, as history would bear out, beyond the market.
by Martin Popoff, from his book " The Collectors Guide to Heavy Metal - Volume 1: The Seventies"
1. High Class In Borrowed Shoes - 4:00
2. Diamonds Diamonds - 3:18
3. Gravity - 4:53
4. Words To Words - 3:34
5. America's Veins - 4:08
6. Oh War! - 4:25
7. On The Road - 3:25
8. Rain Child (Terry Watkinson) - 4:22
9. In Context Of The Moon - 5:13
All Songs written by Kim Mitchell, Pye Dubois, except where noted.
*Kim Mitchell - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Terry Watkinson - Keyboards, Vocals,
*Mike Tilka - Bass Guitar, Arp Bass, Vocals
*Gary Mccracken - Drums, Percussion
1976 Max Webster