Nazareth hit their stride and also their commercial peak with their third and fourth albums - Razamanaz
 and Loud 'n' Proud
 - largely thanks to having developed a style of melodic Hard Rock with a distinctive signature sound, courtesy of frontman Dan McCafferty's screechy but nevertheless tuneful vocals.
Both of those albums produced a clutch of Top 20 singles, but beyond that point the wide appeal that the band's material had enjoyed went into a very gradual but steady decline, such that by the time of their seventh album - 1976's Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll
- Nazareth had all but disappeared from view.
Perhaps surprisingly, the band continued releasing an album every twelve to fifteen months through to 1984, then just another five albums in the following decade, before falling silent for ten years, resurfacing with their 40th anniversary album The Newz
in 2008, followed by a further three albums since. By that time though, the bassist was the only member left from the band's original line-up.
So this album - 1979's No Mean City
- was released a few years after Nazareth had peaked, but it manages to stand out from the pack of albums surrounding it, by being a return-to-form in the songwriting department. And that was helped further thanks to the band by this time performing like a well-oiled machine - the playing is professional, the rhythm section tight, McCafferty is in fine voice, and the percussion especially is imaginative and varied.
The album's sound is somewhat 'tougher' overall than it had been on Nazareth's most well-known albums - Razamanaz
and Loud 'n' Proud
- a lot less pop-ish, but the melodies are just as strong, and the stylings are varied too, ranging from that rarest of creatures - a genuinely good power ballad - "Star" (5 stars), followed by the slow grinding sludge of "Claim to Fame" (4½ stars).
by Reviewer: bluemoon