Here Come the Warm Jets

Brian Eno

An excerpt from Creem, October 1974, by Lester Bangs

...shooting the new mania through your lobes and out your kicking sinews and pounding fists. You can throw all that other crap out -- Dylan, Bowie, Clapton -- it may be nice in its place but Roxy Music is the only music that says anything new or reflects the spirit of '74 with any accurate passion. If you still haven't bought Stranded GO GET THE GODDAM THING and wolf it down, it'll only leave you hungry for more. Which fortunately is in ample supply: Bryan Ferry has already made two solo albums, having just released the first, brilliant one (These Foolish Things) in the U.S.; Roxy saxman Andy McKay has an album coming out; and Eno, brilliant keyboard experimentalist who contributed much to the Velvet Underground pulsating pungency of the first two Roxy albums before his split from the group, is all around us on two worthwhile jam imports (one with King Crimson's Robert Fripp which -- be forewarned -- is monochromatic unto absolute stillness but mesmerizing thereby, and one with Kevin Ayers and ex-Velvets Nico and John Cale), as well as this incredible record which joins Stranded in proving with absolute finality that Roxy and Eno parted are merely twin peaks.

I've had Here Come the Warm Jets in import copy since early spring, and the best of it still stuns and fries me every time I slap it on. Side two does tend to meander a bit, but side one has one of the most perfect lineups in years, solid and throbbing primitivo all the way but with the strangest increment of avant-girdings, like a cross between Nico's Marble Index and Slade. Don't worry, Eno may like synthesizer but this isn't one of those doodley-squats like George Harrison's Electronic Sounds -- these are hard-driving, full-out rock'n'roll songs with consistent percussive force, slashingly economical guitar solos by Fripp and Roxy's Phil Manzanera (who is the most exciting new guitarist since James Williamson, whom he technically far surpasses), and the consistent acidulous edge of Eno's vocals.

Which is where the real twisto action comes in. This guy is a real sickie, bubs, sick as Alice Cooper once was sposed to be, sicker by far than David Bowie's most scabrous dreams. What will you make, for instance, of a song which begins with diabolical electronic telegraphy and the lyrics "Baby's on fire/Better throw her in the water/Look at her laughing/Like a heifer to the slaughter/Baby's on fire/And all the laughing boys are itching..." Don't tell me about the sleaze in your Silverhead -- Eno is the real bizarro warp factor for 1974. It's like he says in "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch": "By this time I got to looking for some kind of substitute/I can't tell you what kind, but you know that it rhymes with dissolute..." Meanwhile, the drums are pounding and the guitars are screaming every whichaway in a precisely orchestrated cauldron of terminal hysteria muchly influenced by though far more technologically advanced than early Velvet Underground. Don't miss it; it'll drive you crazy.