27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Quintessential 70s artrock,
This review is from: Here Come the Warm Jets (Audio CD)
From the moment Roxy Music's eponymous debut album hit the stands up to the release of Achtung Baby by U2 at the start of the 90s, Eno's remarkable creativity in the studio subtly guided the development of pop and rock music without ever overpowering it. Here Come The Warm Jets was his debut solo album after splitting from Roxy Music when he fell out with Bryan Ferry. It was Roxy Music's loss artistically for, as they progressed to the land of the lounge lizard, Eno set off on an esoteric and ground-breaking journey through the edges of pop and rock music.
Here Come The Warm Jets and his next album, Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, are both his most straight ahead records and the only albums he made without instrumental tracks on them. Eno's debut doesn't stray as far from his glam roots as subsequent albums do, and yet it still takes standard pop into a strange new world. Melodically, most of the songs on the album are very simple, almost nursery rhyme like in places, and yet two facets mean most of them stand up to repeated listening and remain compelling no matter how often you hear them.
First, Eno's ability to structure a song and not to overplay it is second to none. The excellent On Some Faraway Beach is the prime example of this - for nearly three minutes keyboards and synths build across each other and, just as it reaches a point where you feel the track has fulfilled itself, the vocal begins - and you are immediately transfixed again. It's present again on the switch between Some of Them are Old and the title track, where the strange treated percussion draws you in completely and - at exactly the point you accept it will continue ad infinitum now - the harsh electronic keyboards of the final track begin.
The second facet of his skills that make his records shine is his musical ear - tracks are perfectly instrumented and balanced, and support his limited vocals. The Paw-Paw Negro Blowtorch carries more different instrumentations and vocalisations than any other 3 minute track in the history of pop and yet, in Eno's hands, never sounds remotely clumsy, running from nervous and edgy at it's start, through a humourous mid-section, in to a disturbing finale.
The range of tracks on offer - from the jagged Needle in the Camels Eye and Blank Frank to the lilting Cindy Tells Me - mean the album never sounds bland, and Eno's production means it never sounds anything other than interesting. Yet it's actually a much more accessible record than Roxy Music's first two albums, and all the better for it. The lyrics are less obtuse as well, and often darkly humourous. To round it all off, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music lend a hand, as does Robert Fripp, and even David Bowie is there, albeit with an assumed name.
This record simply should be in every serious music fan's collection. Together with the aforementioned Taking Tiger Mountain and Another Green World, it forms a trilogy of pop records that Eno recorded that really had a marked influence on the way people viewed the process of recording and production and, on top of that, all 3 of them are excellent. It belongs to the Glam movement, but is as different from it as The Beatles were to the rest of Merseybeat. If you do buy it, both the other albums mentioned above are well worth checking out and, of his more ambient records, Apollo is a good starting point as the most accessible. My Life In The Bush of Ghosts (with David Byrne) should be in your collection too - it's remarkable, and even more so considering it was recorded at the start of the '80s. Once you've bought those, there's the albums he worked on for Bowie (Low, Heroes and Lodger), the records he helped U2 with (notably The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby) and Roxy Music's first two to check out next. Make no mistake - Eno has had a huge influence on the way things sound today, and this album was where he really began to expand his craft.