I'm a little confused by my copy (purchased from new when I was a 13 year old glam rock nut!). Red sticker and the poster but Jeepster A3 * exception credited to Lupus Music. Matrix run out as here, variant 2 with the capitalised PORKY, PECKO-DUCK. Another variant?
At the outset of the 1970s, a relatively unknown singer-songwriter hailing from London abruptly converted from acoustic neo-romanticism to tricked-up heavy rock, achieving the stardom he had long desired in the process. No, that is not a description David Bowie’s rise to prominence, but you would be forgiven for making that assumption. From the late ‘60s artistic groundswell to the sudden re-emergence and reinvention of rock & roll, nobody straddled the fine line between such flagrant decadence, sleaze and theatricality quite like Marc Bolan, the lead singer of Tyrannosaurus Rex, later very aptly abbreviated to T. Rex at the precise moment they streamlined their sound. Once this new anti-revolutionary style emerged from the underground, the innate androgyny and artifice exhibited so unashamedly by men only carried weight and gained acceptance when bedizened by those of hippie extraction, namely Marc Bolan, who used his own growing fascination with the glitzy female aesthetic as a means of expressing his unique brand of esotericism to the uninitiated masses. Unlike his contemporaries, Bolan was crafting sizzling material not entirely defined by the era, and by drawing on the reserves of otherworldly poetry, electric instruments and bubblegum pop melodies, he fashioned the rudimentary elements of what become known as glam rock into something conversely sexy and outlandish yet entirely resonant, particularly with teenage girls enamoured with his swagger and idiosyncratic appeal.
Preceding the release of the new material by several months, the standalone single “Hot Love” marked the first time, with the exception of “Ride a White Swan”, T. Rex dispensed with the acoustic instruments and fairytales in favour of cosmic fantasies and four-to-the-floor rock. “Hot Love” would reach number one on the UK Singles Chart, remaining there for six weeks. Bolan’s ground-breaking appearance on Top Of The Pops adorned in satin and glitter precipitated the gender ambiguity and superficiality of glam rock. Contrary his early loopy performances with outré percussionist Steve Took, Bolan’s florid prose and wordplay were now being delivered with arrogance and conviction, albeit with a much-needed degree of showmanship backed by a trio of musicians. Indeed, T. Rex’s popularity was borne out of Bolan’s flashiness and mystical leanings, which was in turn overcome by his innovative sense and raw talent. “Hot Love” may have kick-started the movement, but glam rock would not have come into its own without “Electric Warrior”, which, alongside Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era, further established keynotes of the genre and set the template for acts such as New York Dolls, The Sweet and Mott the Hoople. Featuring airy production courtesy of Tony Visconti, the album supplemented the esotericism of T. Rex’s incipient phase with a healthy dose of self-indulgence, sexuality and spark. Visconti’s role was to engulf the non-sequiturs and existentialism in a dense, gratifying and subduing wall of vocal warbles, soothing strings, reverberating riffs and a propulsive, stomping back-beat. Astonishingly, he succeeded in helming a warm, sensuous, groove-laden joyride.
The rollicking “Jeepster” and deliciously gritty “Get It On” remain notable fixtures of the teenybopper glory days, but when experienced in the context of the album from which they were taken, they are elevated to a far higher plane. “Mambo Sun,” “Monolith,” “Planet Queen,” “Cosmic Dancer,” “Life’s A Gas,” “Rip Off” are all invigorating and infectious art statements as significant and dynamic as the youth-targeting “Hot Love” and “Ride a White Swan”, anchoring newfound sexual and extra-terrestrial impulses to sultry swings and flourishes of melancholy and surrealism. Despite being utterly sublime, had “Hot Love” been included in the running order of “Electric Warrior”, it would have diminished its flow and cohesion. It is the adept sequencing of the album that creates a distinctive mood, with even negligibly lesser songs fortified simply by their ensuing after the precedent composition.
A timeless cross-section of rhythmic musicality responsible for various components of the glam rock framework, “Electric Warrior” possesses the irresistible true rock sound that Bolan originally intended to reconstruct. This cool, bewitching amaranthine pop classic registers as increasingly stark and absurd every time you hear it, but in the very best way. If you’ve never experienced T. Rex’s output beyond the well-known singles, I exhort you to locate the earliest issue of “Electric Warrior” and prepare to be spellbound.
The UK listings for this LP is messy, thus so are the sales listings. The first issue has the red sticker on the front, with the Poster and artistic Inner within, and this pressing needs to be the first issue stated and depicted.