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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

on 10 March 2011
I bought this CD after coming across a badly scratched vinyl copy in my loft. I had forgotten just how good an album it was, even better not without the scratches!

Be-Bop Deluxe were always a difficult band to pigeon hole. They weren't heavy rock or glam rock, they were just, well, Be-Bop Deluxe. Even the name gave nothing away.

Front man Bill Nelson had a real flair for mixing simple pop melodies with impressive guitar work and witty and inspiring lyrics, demonstrated admirably here by the tracks Fair Exchange and Blazing Apostles. The big hit from this album (and I think their only chart hit) was Ships In The Night. I remember seeing them perform this track on TOTP.

Sunburst Finish as a gem of an album, one that deserves to be heard again (and again...).

The remastered version currently available contains three bonus track not released on the original album: Blue and a Jewel, Speed Of The Wind and Shine. These are great tracks and fit in well with the rest.

For anyone who has never heard Be-Bop Deluxe before, check out a sample of Fair Exchange, I know you'll like it!
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on 11 November 2010
I've got this on vinyl, from my youth, and recently got the CD - I'd forgotten how good it is. Rock but without cliches, I love the changes in pace and mood. It's full of fantastic arrangements and Bill Nelson is a fine guitarist, in fact all the musicians on the album are excellent.

Even though I think I know the album really well (I hadn't listened to it for years) it keeps surprising me. It just makes you really happy. Very uplifting album. If you haven't heard Be Bop Deluxe this is a good place to start.
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on 7 October 2003
Be-Bop Deluxe never received the critical acclaim that they deserved. Unfortunately for them, they were always compared to other bands that were around at the time, and never considered in their own right. Sunburst Finish is a joy of an album, arguably their best, most complete album (and the fact that it includes "Crying to the sky", with one of Bill Nelson's best ever guitar solos), although if you like this you'll certainly enjoy the others (although some are still quite hard to get hold of). I also recommend "Tramcar to Tomorrow" to others who enjoy Be-Bop Deluxe - it's a great CD as well. If you haven't already been captivated by Bill Nelson's solo work, buy some of his albums and see where he's got to in the many years since BBD ceased to be - his latest, "Whimsy", is a fine cross section of his totally unappreciated creative genius.
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on 19 November 1999
I have been looking for this recording for ages. I had the vinyl version for many years. Now the CD age has brought back to life one of the records great tracks 'Ships in the night'. I suppose this is a personal favourite; however I would recommend this CD for its pure passion and real vitality. For the price of a couple of drinks- its worth it! Where are you guys now?
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on 9 June 2013
This was the album to propel Be Bop Deluxe into the big league. After the raw potential of Axe Victim and the brilliance of Futurama failed to yield a hit, Bill Nelson, founder and muse of the band brought in Andy Clark on keyboards and co-produced with John Leckie to deliver Be-Bop's most confident and assured album.

It yielded the hit `Ships in the Night' and gathered the band a degree of attention previously denied them.

As an album it deserved its success. `Fair Exchange' is a confident opener but betrays immediately Nelson's increasing maturity as a songwriter as well as cynicism that was not obvious on the more romaticised Futurama. A `Fair Exchange' being `give me your body, I'll give you my brain' and `Here I stand on the stage, axe in my hand, another fool on the stage with a travelling band' being a less star struck take on life than the former album's opener `Stage Whispers'.

`Blazing Apostles' closes the album and provides a powerful, guitar driven critique on Christian evangelism, no doubt influenced by Bill's early trips to USA.

In between, the romanticism remains intact on songs like `Heavenly Homes' and `Crying to The Sky', the latter allegedly the guitar effect that Nelson is asked most about i.e. how does he make the guitar cry. `Sleep that Burns' is the album's high point, a surreal dream, delivered with all the energy and vitality you'd expect and a tempo change in the middle to keep it interesting. Also notable is `Life in the Air Age' another sci-fi tale of a man stranded out of time and relating his story of time travel from the past to a barman and his wife, it's a minor classic and one of the best on the album.

Overall the album is a great example of mid-seventies glam rock. It (and they) are a too oft neglected example of dynamic, glam influenced, histrionic at times, electric rock. Perhaps released a year too late, their obvious peers, Bowie, Roxy Music and even Sparks had all moved on by 1976 when this album was released. Bowie was soul boy, Roxy were about to embrace disco and Sparks were ...well... Sparks. But that's another story.

Still, this album remains a minor classic even if I must admit I prefer the earlier Futurama! Commercially this was as good as it got for Be Bop Deluxe.

Current CD version includes 3 bonus tracks which are decent without being essential. I preferred it when the album finished with a voice intoning, `good evening, Blazing Apostles, can I help you?' over and over again. But I'm just a traditionalist.

Buy it, if you've not got it or your vinyl copy needs replaced. It's a little piece of magic.
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on 20 October 2003
This is probably the best album ever by anyone.Yes i have been a Be Bop fan for many years.It takes you up it takes you down.Tracks like Crying To The Sky take you on an emotional rollercoaster and the way the songs merge into each other is just genius.Fair Exchange is a brilliant opening track that drives the rest of the album.Yes Bill Nelson is a creative genius and not a bad guitar player either.
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on 14 March 2006
How? How on earth did this album not figure in Q Magazine's February rating of the Top 100 albums of all time? Some tunes pop into your head and won't go away for a few days or even weeks. This year is the 30th anniversary since Ships In the Night has been running around mine and Blazing Apostles with it. Hence my decision to buy the remastered album. What an amazing memory trip! The way in which the music demolishes anything in today's charts by comparison is fantastic. Its at times theatrical, whymsical, uplifting, shimmering, astonishing. Whether you consider Sunburst Finish, Axe Victim or Modern Music to be Be-Bop's finest, this is the album that broke into the US for them and gave them their first and only TOTP appearance. The music features fabulously varied, intricate guitar work from Bill with some really good moods created. As with any album that deserves 5 stars, there isn't a single track that doesn't stand up as something special and memorable in its own right. Bears comparison with Queen's finest only cooler rather than camp or kitsch.
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on 4 October 2010
Wow! where do I start? Following the first two superb albums, this was something else altogether. Bill Nelson reached new creative heights here, backed by a band full of confidence - and it shows. But this is not rock as we know it, this is a unique, sophisticated potpourri of light and shades. Its difficult to find an overall highlight here, but the guitar solo on Crying To The Sky is a leading contender, this incredibly moving and beautiful piece of fretwork always leaves me covered in goosebumps. All this and Modern Music to follow, bliss.
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on 25 December 2009
Bought this album on vinyl originally and now have it on CD. Could write a long review but the best way to sum it up is Brilliant. My favourite track is Sleep That Burns.

Had the good fortune to see Be Bop Deluxe live back in the 1970s. Also saw Bill Nelson live back in 2004.

Bill Nelson's guitar playing blew me away when I first heard it and still does. One of the all time great rock guitarists
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on 28 June 2009
Bill Nelson at his best, light years ahead of this time, with a band that just made it look and sound easy . I have been a fan since late High School days and a few years back I bought Bill's A and H Mixing Desk where most of this work was done. Buy this CD and you wont be let down.
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