Unexpectedly, Marc Bolan is back. Under his egotistical leadership, T. Rex had headed straight down with two consecutive albums of trivial, leaden shush. In England he’d been overtaken in the pop idolatry sweepstakes by Sweet, Slade, Mud, Mott and even the Rubettes. His increasingly vainglorious pronouncements failed to mask the decline.
But with Light Of Love Bolan has recharged his vitality, and that raw spirit which galvanized the globe on “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” and Electric Warrior is once again present. He’s cleaned up the sludgy aspects of his sound (save for an overdependence on shrill backup vocals) and the songs are much stronger musically. They’re still extremely simple — straight rockers or, more commonly, elementary variations on early Sixties Brill Building chord changes — but they sound fresh and attractive.
Bolan’s lyrics are still trademarked by the usual pseudo poetic profundity, but the overwrought images and pat rhymes, when confined to Light Of Love‘s economical material, take on an appealing inevitability. His vocals still retain that amphetamine, amphibian warble, but at times his snarl is tough enough to rival the Seeds, a considerable achievement.
The current British singles “Light Of Love,” “Solid Baby,” “Till Dawn” and “Token of My Love” lead a generally upbeat collection of original tunes. Only the recent minor hit in Britain, “Teenage Dream,” is a real detriment — it’s drenched in strings and cocktail piano, suffers from pointless, jumbled lyrics and self-conscious Dylan-styled intonations and drags on for far too long. But Light Of Love is a refreshing comeback for an artist who may have been counted out too soon.