Axe Victim (Deluxe Edition)

Be-Bop Deluxe

Esoteric Recordings, 2020

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Be-Bop_Deluxe

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/20/2021

Axe Victims is the album that got things going for the Be-Bop Deluxe back in 1974. It was their first and served to introduce this band to the wider audience. This deluxe edition really explores the album and its times inside out. The title may appear to be gruesome, but in reality, the word axe is slang for guitar and that’s what the band is referring to. In fact, it was all about the guitar when it comes to this band and Bill Nelson. Also, the concept of guitar often shows up in the lyrics, so be on the lookout for that.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Even on their debut album, the band’s style comes across very clearly, and as time progressed, they only got better at it. I absolutely love the laidback mood of the music. It’s like they know they have a target in mind, but they’re not in a hurry to get there. Every now and then, the tempo speeds up, like in “Rocket Cathedral,” but even there they do it on their own terms. The music just has a great dreamy feel, and it comes across as simple, even though it’s really complicated. It contains many great tracks, and standouts include “Love Is Swift Arrows” or “Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape” (but in reality that could change over the period of the next two listens). There really isn’t a weak point here. The whole album is just a great musical treat.

The deluxe version provides several bonus cuts, and an additional disc of a brand new stereo mix. You can really navigate here in whichever direction fits you. What’s really great is a booklet included with a very informative narrative written by Bill Nelson himself. As expected, Nelson provides a lot of good trivia about the band, and some interesting opinions as well. There is nothing like hearing it from the main creator. There are plenty of pictures dating back to this time. Esoteric Recordings is doing a really stellar job with this catalog. 

Rating: A

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