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T Rex - Electric Warrior (Reissue Album Review)

Monday, 23 April 2012 Written by Gemma-Louise Johnson
T Rex - Electric Warrior (Reissue Album Review)

Preceding with a string of iconic hits that lead to a chart-topping, yet brief success, T. Rex ascended from the early 70s’ as one of glam’s greatest contrivers of all time. And who’d have thought that when the band put out their sixth studio disc, leader Marc Bolan would have just six years left to sustain his iconic legacy.

ImageBack in their glittering prime, T. Rex arguably shipped 100000 discs a day - much to the displeasure of the snooty masses, branding Bolan a bubblegum youth-pleaser in comparison to more decadent running comrades, Reed and Bowie. But when the unthinkable happened in the fall of ’77 (just two weeks before his 30th Birthday), Bolan’s unfortunate and untimely car-crash demise cast both a shadow and a spotlight onto the extraordinary work he did with the mighty T. Rex.

Announced by many, including Bolan himself as “the best album of 1971”, it seems only appropriate that after forty years since its release, this beautifully repacked Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Vinyl and Digital Editions of the 'Electric Warrior' album should re-emerge.

The new, limited and exquisite edition of 'Electric Warrior' will be presented in a foil-blocked box, and will include a 32-page hardback book by Bolan biographer Mark Paytress (including new interviews with those who were close to Marc), 25 bonus tracks and previously unreleased out-takes. The box of treats also offers reproductions of rare photos and memorabilia: a poster including a timeline, three photographs, a coaster, and a vintage press release. The DVDs in the package feature rare clips of 'Hot Love' and 'Get It On' from Top Of The Pops (a performance that arguably assigns him as the ‘father’ of glam-rock), and blue-screen versions of 'Jeepster' and 'Life’s A Gas' from Germany’s Beat Club and live Wembley performances of 'Girl' and 'Cosmic Dancer'.

Few vestiges remain in the acoustic-driven ballads of those early days, and Electric Warrior spends most of its time in a swinging, hip-shaking groove powered mostly by Marc Bolan's warm electric guitar. From the shimmying beat of smash hit 'Get It On', to the rocking rhythms of 'There Was A Time/Raw Ramp' or the infectious hooks in 'Hot Love', 'Electric Warrior' still remains an important piece of rock ‘n’ roll history today, thanks to Bolan and percussionist Mickey Finn, whose distraction from a more folksy sound of Tyrannosaurus Rex, into the glam-rock theme of T. Rex, fetched its electrifying response and spawned the then hip term “T. Rextasy.”

But one thing that remains clear when listening to this masterpiece is its influences, as Bolan begs, borrows and blatantly steals from bluesy heroes - Howlin’ Wolf, and Eddie Cochran, particularly during folk-inspired moments like 'Jeepster'. Lyrically, he is just as obsessed with the fantasy as he is sex-pursuing whatever silly wordplay or cosmic fiction he feels, and his abandonment of any pretence to art becomes a statement in itself on ballads like 'Cosmic Dancer', 'Monolith' and 'Girl', where psychedelic, hippie gibber is absorbed.

Universal may still continue to cash in on the record’s 40th Anniversary, presently dominating various UK TV drinks commercials with its timeless presence, but the film industry has done far more to preserve Bolan’s iconic legacy in films that use his infectious melodies on their soundtracks, like 'Billy Elliot', 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Children Of The Revolution'. But much of this timelessness has to be credited to the incomparable services of Tony Visconti, whose spacious, echoing production of 'Electric Warrior' makes it all convincing enough to pack another hefty punch some four decades later.

Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Vinyl and Digital Editions of 'Electric Warrior' is available to pre-order now via Amazon, and will released into all good music outlets on 23rd April 2012.

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