It’s not often anymore that I get to do my He-man routine at the gym anymore but seeing as how the rest of the week certainly brings the suck with the running and the cycling, I’m using today’s shitty excuse for weather as an opportunity to keep it inside with the heavy iron and the ‘Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages‘ by T. Rex.
I know what you’re thinking: “Really Terry? How manly is that?”
Well, blow me.
I like T. Rex.
This might just be the most underrated of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s four albums, it practically became a staple of the underground U.K. music scene at the time. It was recorded just six months after their debut and adds little to the landscapes which that set mapped out.
Bolan himself describes the album as:
“Two sorts of music – loud and freaky, and soft and pastoral.”
That doesn’t sound so gay now does it?
There is the same reliance on the jarring juxtaposition of rock rhythms in a folky discipline; the same abundance of obscure, private mythologies; the same skewed look at the latest studio dynamics, fed through the convoluted wringer of the duo’s imagination – the already classic pop of the opening ‘Deboraarobed‘ is further dignified by its segue into the same performance played backwards, a fairly groundbreaking move at a time when even the Beatles were still burying such experiments deep in the mix.
But if the album itself found the duo rooted to the musical spot, still it delivered some of Marc Bolan’s most resonant songs. The nostalgia-flavored ‘Stacey Grove‘ and the contrarily high-energy ‘Conesuela‘ were as peerless as any of Bolan’s more feted compositions. Equally intriguing is the confidence which exudes from ‘Scenes of Dynasty‘, a successor of sorts to the last album’s ‘Scenesof‘, but presented with just percussion and some strange vocal noises to accompany Bolan’s singing – at a time when “singing” was maybe not the term a lot of listeners would employ for his vocals.
Finally, the owlishly contagious ‘Salamanda Palaganda‘ offers a first-hand peek into the very mechanics of Bolan’s songwriting. Other composers stuck for a rhyme either reach for the thesaurus or abandon the lyric altogether. Bolan simply made one up, and in the process created a whole new language – half nonsense, half mystery, but wholly intoxicating. Oh, and ‘Scenes of Dynasty‘ is basically what I figure Daniel Johnson strived to be.
Just like the rest of the album, in fact.
Okay, so, yeah, it wasn’t the most uber-masculine thing I could have listened to while doing weights but, meh, fuck it.
I still killed it nonetheless.