This is Marc Bolan, T.Rex and Tony Visconti at their tightest. The band's and producer's zenith as a partnership before it diversified into the 'popera' of Zinc Alloy. Everything about this album - the guitars, sweeping orchestrations, Bolan's voice, production and not forgetting Bill Legend's massively underrated drums - reeks of the uniqueness of the era, the people and the music.
Ironically, it wasn't one of the most successful T.Rex albums at the time - Bolan's press-bating and cheeky 'arrogance' got in the way of this album being taken as seriously as it deserved to be. The critics clearly meant less to him than he did to them!
'Tanx' has always been my favourite T.Rex album from the minute it was bought for my 11th birthday to the present. Every listening feels as fresh, if not fresher, than the first as the clarity of the musicianship and production have come to the fore and become timeless. Why did Bolan listen to EMI when they recommended he come up with something other than 'Electric Slim and the Factory Hen' as the follow up to 'Solid Gold, Easy Action'? It was a whole new direction, away from the pounding pop that preceded it and that replaced it in the form of the classic, but I think misguided, '20th Century Boy'.
The album, amazingly (Bolan's confidence knocked by EMI? Where were the Sex Pistols when they were really needed?!) produced no singles although the sax-led 'Street and Babe Shadow' would have been a good contender as would 'Mad Donna' ('I'm gonna change Madonna...', no need chuck she does it often enough herself!). And who could fail to be moved by the minor chords and whistful lyrics of 'Highway Knees'?
This album is an absolute must. If you're going to buy a T.Rex album, get this one! Thirty-four years have done it no harm at all as many of the production values and soundscapes have become sought after by many bands since then (check Suede, Goldfrapp, The Divine Comedy, the godawful Oasis, more recent Bowie amongst others).
This is Visconti's masterpiece as producer, as well as Bolan and the band's as musicians. I don't think he reached the same perfection anywhere else either before or since (and I do keep checking him out).
This could turn into quite an essay of adoration/adulation but I think these 'Tanx' need to be turned on you... Enjoy!Tanx