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Futurama
Be-Bop Deluxe

Harvest ST 1143
Released: July 1975

Arty, arty, arty. But not arty like the real bebop -- this band is definitely not about instrumental improvisation, transendance of chord structure or any of that. No, they're arty. But they're not bad. Be-Bop Deluxe is a trio starring Bill Nelson, who provides the music, lyrics, guitars, lead vocals, keyboards and percussion. The music is thickly textured, and Nelson writes songs like "Jean Cocteau" and has himself photographed in a court jester's clothing and chains, which makes him a pretentious arty punk. But he redeems himself through an engaging melodic sense, assisted by Roy Thomas Baker's production. They sound a bit like Queen, which Baker also produces, but there is also a good deal of individualism floating around Futurama, as well as more advertiesments for oral-genitalism (heterosexual, I think) than I've heard on a record for some time.

You can't dance to this stuff, but lovers of British progressive rock will definitely go for it. Songs like "Maid in Heaven," "Music in Dreamland" and, yes, "Jean Cocteau" will sound great on FM.

- Ed Ward, Rolling Stone, 10/23/75.

Bonus Review!

Bill Nelson sacked the rest of Be-Bop Deluxe after the release of Axe Victim and hired bassist Charles Tumahai and drummer Simon Fox to make Futurama. The back cover shows Nelson decked out in a fool's costume, chained and restrained by his new bandmates. But on the record, he lets his guitar playing free to dominate the proceedings even more than it did on Be-Bop's debut and constructs sometimes overly elaborate arrangements that overwhelm whatever substance the songs might otherwise have. * *

- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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