Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Be-Bop Deluxe-AXE VICTIM CD (Harvest England)

Sometimes albums such as this one send me back to certain periods in my life that I perhaps don't want to remember oh-so-clearly, or maybe I just remember 'em in some weird twisted dream logical way that comes off like one of those semi-funny-yet-still-nightmares that I encounter usually under the spell of some over-the-counter cold remedy.

In this case I'm thrown back to the Christmas Holiday of 1975 which for reasons not so surprising was one of my fave-est times of my teenage years. EVERYTHING was aligning in the right kozmic harmonal patterns for this kid with general kultur mighty appealing (television, music, magazines to read onna stand...) and a general air that I was at last! entering into that world I shoulda entered into when I was twelve finally overcoming me. I felt that this baby boomer promise that had been so long denied me was finally coming to fruition and hey, I was one guy who wasn't going to lollygag around and not do any chip cashing in, if you know what I mean.

So needless to say this particular platter has a little bitta meaning with regard to that particular period in time. Y'see, I borrowed a copy of this for the Christmas recess and had felt it to be quite an interesting if in fact pleasing display of English fop-pop rock with some Harvest Records proggy elements thrown in. Kinda like Ziggy Stardust meets Pink Floyd in a way, and while not as engrossing as their second offering entitled FUTURAMA which I had purchased a good week or two earlier it was a mighty fine debut offering even if the group who play on this 'un had eventually been fired by lead Bopper Bill Nelson.

However while spinning this CD last night I encountered some rather strange images in my bean which, contrary to my usual remembrances of those happydaffy times between school drudgery, were rather dank and downright paranoid. The music didn't quite have that same glitter hanger-on approach that appealed to me upon contact but conjured up images of a confused, muddled, directionless youth where obsession was curbed and discipline the rule. Not that I don't mind discipline, but the music blasting forth from the box wasn't exactly charging my serotonin-barren brain with memories of a more easygoing period in life even if I did get sick after my first visit to a Red Lobster the day after Christmas!

And hey, after thirty-five smackin' years AXE VICTIM does prove to be more of a glam downer with proggy dressing than I would have given it credit for way back when. Even the more Bowie-derived moments tend to have this air of despair about 'em and for the life of me the only track with any semblance of spark and life was "Rocket Cathedrals" featuring soon-to-be-axed victim himself (pardon the bad Chuck Eddy-esque pun) Robert Bryan as composer and vocalist. Even the blatant Stardust cop "Jet Silver and the Dolls of Venus" (which was the inspiration for an actual eighties-vintage Eastern PA group!) is marinated in a typically English standoffish gloom that is drizzled over just about every aspect of the culture over there (and that includes the rest of Great Britain...and they think Americans are the wild barbarians!).

Naturally I ended up drinking the entire platter in. After all, as Mel Lyman said maybe we should see things as they really are, and come to think of it despite the plethora of aural and visual booty to keep me stimulated there was always the hostility of human interaction in school, society and home that certainly kept me well-squashed beneath thumb. So maybe this album was the "soundtrack to my dreams reality" and for once maybe I should stare my memories in the face and remember them for the utter degradation that I hadda endure and in many ways will continue to endure until I'm worm food.

EMI did smart by padding this 'un out with some live '78 tracks, outta kilter since this was Be-Bop mark II but still a nice touch. As you may know I really didn't cozy up to this band once SUNBURST FINISH hit the racks, but these tracks didn't offend me the way I find a lotta late-seventies post-prog acts tended to. Maybe I was still bogged down by the actual album to care? As the old saying goes YOU BE DA JUDGE!

1 comment:

humming in the night skull said...

A long time ago I got the chance to sit in the booth for an hour, with an angineer doing all the actual "work", at the MPLS public radio station KFAI and basically babble into the mic and have the engineer work the controls.

I tried to play all stuff I figured nobody had ever heard, and with the really limited audience this little station was broadcasting out to I figured about a handful of people were listening.

I played all my odd stuff, Clawhammer doing Ubu, Laughner doing his death rattle, etc...

Nobody called the whole hour and I played my last song "Jets At Dawn" off this album and finally one person called in and said he loved the stuff and loved this song.

I guess it could have been a friend of mine trying to make up for the non-response I got, but maybe it was really somebody who liked the song! I hope he went and seeked out the album, or at least remembered the name of the band.