Although I am still reeling from the awesomess of one recent purchase in particular: The below Sergio Mendes LP, there has been much room for this particular album in my life over the past week. For reasons unknown I halted my exploration of all things T Rex at Slider. When I was about 13 I had a double cassette compilation that included works beyond that but beyond playing it in the car with my dad as an exercise in bridging the generation gap I remember little of it.
'He died in a car crash y'know, drove his mini into a tree.'
'Really? I thought he'd be driving a Jeep.'
This is every bit as good as what came before it, possibly...possibly better. I still can't get over the beautiful time change on 'Tenement Lady'. It's a bizarre gambit as song number one because despite the tracks opening pace it takes this spectacular dive into what can only really be described as Temazepam territory and then vanishes.
A problem I always had with Marc (aside of the obvious hair) was his 'lyrical mastery'. Word wise much of what he wrote was utter shite, but in his defense once he ran it though the gold and glittered T Rex machine it came back sounding like it had fallen from some sparkling gaylord heaven.
The back of the sleeve is a thing of wonder - a collage of tanks and members of the T Rex, surrounded by tanks. ..This is shaping up to be the best couple of Euros I have spend all year. Nice vocal effect on 'Rapids' and the saxophone on 'Mister Mister' is Roxy enough to work. Wonder if this is where Mister Mister of 'Broken Wings' got their...there you go again, great time change and totally not expected.
Next up 'Broken Hearted Blues'. Utterly appalling lyrics but a lovely little song. Tony Visconti does a fantastic job with the most subdued string arrangement imaginable, it's right at the back behind the Brookside theme tune saxophones and bass. I wonder how seriously the boy Bolan took himself? Whether he really was a posturing buffoon convinced he was the god of all he surveyed. I need to watch more interviews with this guy, I need to immerse myself in the world of the Jeepster. There was a guy used to hang around Notting Hill that used to dress like Marc Bolan. I wonder what happened to him? I wonder if he drove a mini.
'Shock Rock' is shit. The rest of side one is mercifully brilliant. 'Country Honey' stays true to it's name with a nice slide guitar and the marching drums of 'Electric Slim...' are a stroke of awesomeness.
'Mad Donna' starts well but dallies into Rock N Roll mediocrity. Despite the painful boogie woogie of it's title 'Born to Boogie' is saved by a tidal wave of Turtles like backing singing, sounds like somebody has wired up a tube of Bacofoil and put it through a chorus pedal. Yes! Get in, backwards drums! 'Life is Strange' is amazing, the field music in the background is just loud enough and the one random bongo hit 1/4 of the way through is the attention to detail that can only come from large amounts of gack. If there was a recorder solo on this song it might just explode with amazingness.
I am going to go on record as saying I enjoyed this more than both 'Electric Warrior' and 'The Slider'. I hadn't planned on documenting the entire album in a track by track breakdown but 'The Street and Bene Shadow' also deserves a mention for the keyboard hook that holds it together.
The last two tracks are proficient enough and if I am honest even the albums dud bullet 'Shock Rock' is not all that bad.
Can this album really be this good? Maybe this time of the year sees me over sensitive to the talents of men with ludicrous pube hair. I should probably put this theory to the test and throw on something by Leo Sayer. If I come back under the impression the middle eight in 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' sounds like it was written by god then you know to ignore the above as it is obviously the work of a man with follicle based mental problems.
Oh and yes it has the poster.