T. Rex - Electric Warrior LP


“The first and best of a trio of brilliant albums. Its two successors-- The Slider (1972) and Tanx (1973)-- have nearly vanished from music shops, and with a comprehensive best-of collection now available, Electric Warrior seemed destined to follow them into the void. Thankfully, this catastrophe has been averted: Bolan may have been known for his singles, but his albums-- and this one in particular-- deserve to be heard in their entirety.

For those hunting down the singles, Electric Warrior does contain the immortal "Bang a Gong (Get it On)", but that's neither the only nor the best reason to pick it up. What makes this record so enduring is its almost accidental emotional depth: When T. Rex is kicking out the jams, they sound like they're having the most gleeful, absurd good time ever committed to wax…

The most significant aspect of Electric Warrior isn't its arena rock confidence; it's that Bolan allows his grinning mask to slip. With the incomparable aid of producer Tony Visconti, Bolan sketches a vast, empty room, where, after the party's over, he resides alone, wide-eyed and desperate. On ballads like "Cosmic Dancer", "Monolith" and "Girl", he speaks in the same gibberish as elsewhere, but he's clearly haunted-- by what we can't say. But the gaping, searing question mark that comes at the conclusion of the album-- guitar feedback paired with a string section, holding a shivering and very ambivalent cluster of notes-- is just one of many clues that there's more to Electric Warrior than its surface lets on. This is not simply a man who plays party songs because he wants to: This is a man who plays party songs to fend off darkness.” - Brian James for Pitchfork