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Electric Warrior [Expanded]

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T. Rex 22/5/2003

Review

The album that essentially kick-started the U.K. glam rock craze, Electric Warrior completes T. Rex's transformation from hippie folk-rockers into flamboyant avatars of trashy rock & roll. There are a few vestiges of those early days remaining in the acoustic-driven ballads, but Electric Warrior spends most of its time in a swinging, hip-shaking groove powered by Marc Bolan's warm electric guitar. The music recalls not just the catchy simplicity of early rock & roll, but also the implicit sexuality -- except that here, Bolan gleefully hauls it to the surface, singing out loud what was once only communicated through the shimmying beat. He takes obvious delight in turning teenage bubblegum rock into campy sleaze, not to mention filling it with pseudo-psychedelic hippie poetry. In fact, Bolan sounds just as obsessed with the heavens as he does with sex, whether he's singing about spiritual mysticism or begging a flying saucer to take him away. It's all done with the same theatrical flair, but Tony Visconti's spacious, echoing production makes it surprisingly convincing. Still, the real reason Electric Warrior stands the test of time so well -- despite its intended disposability -- is that it revels so freely in its own absurdity and willful lack of substance. Not taking himself at all seriously, Bolan is free to pursue whatever silly wordplay, cosmic fantasies, or non sequitur imagery he feels like; his abandonment of any pretense to art becomes, ironically, a statement in itself. Bolan's lack of pomposity, back-to-basics songwriting, and elaborate theatrics went on to influence everything from hard rock to punk to new wave. But in the end, it's that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today. [The 2003 Rhino reissue of Electric Warrior truly lives up to the oft-misused term "expanded." The deluxe package includes lengthy liner notes by Sean Egan, fantastic photos of Marc Bolan and the rest of the group, a fold-out poster of Bolan, twenty minutes of audio excerpts from a promo interview disc cut with Bolan in 1971, and six bonus tracks recorded and released around the same time as the Electric Warrior album. Most of these songs have been available elsewhere (except for the previously unreleased acoustic version of "Planet Queen"), but adding them to the original album enhances the experience. The best track is the rollicking and rude "Raw Ramp," although "Hot Love" gives it a run for the top. The other three tracks ("There Was a Time," "Woodland Rock," and "King of the Mountain Cometh") aren't essential T. Rex, but are fun nonetheless. Now if only Rhino could get their hands on The Slider and give that album the deluxe treatment it deserves: the same excellent treatment they give Electric Warrior here.] ~ Steve Huey
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Mambo Sun T. Rex 3:38
  3. 2 Cosmic Dancer T. Rex 4:27
  4. 3 Jeepster T. Rex 4:9
  5. 4 Monolith T. Rex 3:46
  6. 5 Lean Woman Blues T. Rex 3:0
  7. 6 Bang a Gong (Get It On) T. Rex 4:23
  8. 7 Planet Queen T. Rex 3:10
  9. 8 Girl T. Rex 2:30
  10. 9 The Motivator T. Rex 3:58
  11. 10 Life's a Gas T. Rex 2:23
  12. 11 Rip Off T. Rex 3:41
  13. 12 There Was a Time T. Rex 1:0
  14. 13 Raw Ramp T. Rex 4:12
  15. 14 Planet Queen [Acoustic Version][Previously Unreleased] T. Rex 2:57
  16. 15 Hot Love T. Rex 4:54
  17. 16 Woodland Rock T. Rex 2:21
  18. 17 King of the Mountain Cometh T. Rex 3:53
  19. 18 The T. Rex Electric Warrior Interview T. Rex 19:33

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