Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

T. Rex
Electric Warrior

Released 1971 on EMI
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 15/11/2000ce

The duo of Marc Bolan (Vocals, Guitar) and Mickey Finn
(Percussion, Vocals) sure seem like the most unlikely candidates for Glam Rock stardom. As Tyrannosaurus Rex they had already recorded 2 discs worth of decent Psychedelic Folk Rock during the late 60’s (a genre that was already on its way out in 1969 due to heavier Psychedelic Rock acts.) The only difference between those
records and their 3rd self titled disc (now shortening their name to T. Rex) was the addition of former Turtles and legends in their own right, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman on backing vocals. Yet their 4th album (2nd as T. Rex but 1st in their Glam phase) would be one of the biggest UK successes of 1971 and a landmark
in the Glam Rock canon.

How did Bolan & Finn do it? I have no clue. However, I’m here to state that Electric Warrior certainly lives up to the hype. Yeah, it’s “Glam” but not in the Slade/The Sweet/Gary Glitter/Mott The Hoople heavy grinding way. “Mambo Sun”, “Jeepster” and “Get It
On” are all Glam Rock classics but actually swing more than stomp. What really impresses here are the slower tracks. “Cosmic Dancer” is a one of the most touching anthems Glam Rock (or any genre in Rock for the matter) has ever produced. Bolan’s pithy poetics detail life itself as a dance from womb to tomb so well it practically brings a tear to the eye. “Monolith” is also pretty stately (with Bolan fretting over the actions of mankind fer crying out loud!) “Life’s A Gas” is a simple wish for good times to last no matter what “should’ve/would’ve/could’ve”
regrets one may have stated with bluesy elegance.

Kaylan and Volman’s backing vocals are pure angelic delights giving a more ethereal quality throughout (which is kinda strange for music from a genre known for not being so polite.) Although they do show their human side moaning “Give me your daughterrrrrrr” in lust at the end of “Planet Queen.” What keeps this all together is Bolan’s musical/poetical vision. He hits all sorts of lyrical
heights here from the absurd (“The President’s weird, he’s got a burgundy beard" on “Rip Off”) to the socially concious (“Girl”) whilst Finn and the top notch session men producer Tony Visconti hired swagger on behind him. I bought Electric Warrior because it had influenced such a wide, complex variety of British acts (Julian Cope, The Smiths, Oasis, Siouxsie & The Banshees, U2, Def Leppard, Virgin Prunes and many more.) That Warrior is a brilliant balancing act between the tender and tough should come as no surprise.

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