photo & text by nacrowe
there is an unbridled joy and childlike amorality in the simple melodies and often nonsensical lyrics of MARC BOLAN throughout the T. REX classic ELECTRIC WARRIOR (REPRISE, 1971). during a period of listless and ever-indulgent PROG ROCK and its attendant unfocused masturbatory virtuosity, T. REX and the GLAM ROCK movement it inspired was a back-to-basics affair that very much put the onus on the groove and the sentiment being conveyed. in this sense the music was both transgressive and revolutionary in its paired-back aesthetic, laying the cultural and sonic foundation for the PUNK ROCK that followed later in the decade.
standout tracks include "JEEPSTER," "COSMIC DANCER" "LIFE'S A GAS," "MAMBO SUN," and of course the classic "BANG A GONG (GET IT ON)." much like the impressionistically evocative and phantasmagorical childlike lyrics of SYD BARRETT from a few years prior, most T. REX songs are less about the literal meaning of said lyrics and more about the complex feelings they transmit in tandem with the music. it is that alchemical interplay between the music and lyrics of BOLAN that make his T. REX output so compelling and influential decades after his untimely passing in 1977. that sensibility of possibility very much harkens back to the rudimentary beginnings of early BRITISH INVASION and even earlier to the birth of ROCK AND ROLL with legends like CHUCK BERRY, LITTLE RICHARD and even JERRY LEE LEWIS. when i listen to T. REX i am very much reminded of that progression and that creative lineage.
ELECTRIC WARRIOR is an absolute classic of a recording that is seemingly universally celebrated by generations of musicians since, including INDIE ROCK, POST PUNK, SHOEGAZE, TRIP HOP, NEW WAVE, ALTERNATIVE ROCK and PUNK ROCK devotees including the likes of JOY DIVISION, THE RAMONES, TRICKY, THE SMITHS, R.E.M., BAUHAUS, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS and THE NEW YORK DOLLS among countless others. its the type of seminal record, much like REVOLVER (PARLOPHONE, 1966), AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE (TRACK, 1967), LED ZEPPELIN IV (ANTLANTIC, 1971) or NEVER MIND THE BULLOCKS (WARNER BROS, 1977), that i consistently hear traces of in modern music. most definitely required listening. definitely worth checking out.