Brian May + Friends: Star Fleet Project (Duck Productions/Universal) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, February 24th, 2024  

Brian May + Friends

Star Fleet Project

Duck Productions/Universal

Aug 23, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

As the story goes, Brian May and his four-year-old son used to watch Star Fleet, a Japanese-made sci-fi marionette show for kids, broadcast in the UK on Saturday mornings. Having evidently become enamored by the music for the show, May, during a break in work for Queen in 1983, gathered some of his musician friends and created a mini album centered around his reworking of the song that ran during the show’s end credits.

The project features Alan Gratzer (REO Speedwagon) on drums, Phil Chen (Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart Band) on bass, and Fred Mandel (Elton John Band, Queen) on keyboards. But the most famous of the contributors, and far and away the draw of this reissue of the project’s recordings is Eddie Van Halen, who provides sparkling guitar work throughout.

The project is reissued here in several iterations. A single LP features the title track, an 8-minute track titled “Let Me Out,” which finds May and Van Halen trading guitar licks, and an extended workout entitled “Blues Breaker,” which was inspired by John Mayall’s Blues Breakers. A single CD version features the three songs, along with a couple interviews and live tracks. And an extensive box set includes audio from the entirety of the April 21 and 22, 1983 sessions on CD in addition to the vinyl and an added 7-inch record.

As a whole, the three songs from the Star Fleet project are essential for those who need everything May- and Van Halen-related. “Star Fleet” is a cute pop tune that benefits from the irony of its inspiration. “Let Me Out” and “Blues Breaker” provide simple proof of what fun it must have been for this group of musicians to work together in the studio. Completists will want to experience the entire box set, with 23 additional studio takes and jams, even if the price point is fairly cost prohibitive. Otherwise, Star Fleet is simply an interesting one-off from a group of musicians who got together for a couple fun-filled days in the studio between projects. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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