T. Rex, The Slider

Austin L. Ray

By Austin L. Ray

on 01.07.11 in Reviews

The Slider


Marc Bolan's musical career began as Tyrannosaurus Rex, a moniker under which he created a handful of whimsical folk records in the late 1960s, attracting influential fans and collaborators such as Tony Visconti and John Peel. With a new decade came a new sound and a shortened band name: 1970's T. Rex introduced Bolan's glam side via a batch of electrified Tyrannosaurus songs placed alongside new material. While 1971's Electric Warrior, and its monster hit, "Bang a Gong (Get it On)," would eventually define Bolan's career, it was 1972's The Slider that presented T. Rex at its most fully realized — an artistic peak that Bolan would, unfortunately, never reach again.

Presenting T. Rex at its most fully realized

In many ways, The Slider is Electric Warrior's sister album, a fact that has evolved into the critical shorthand "more of the same." But a close listen reveals The Slider is the party to Electric Warrior's hangover remedy (despite the fact that they were released in the opposite order). Every one of The Slider's songs, even the acoustic-driven tracks, are slaves to the groove, with lush production — including strings! — and a huge sound throughout. If you don't keep up your guard, they will get you in bed. Bolan is a riff machine, and the only thing catchier than his guitar licks are the earworm melodies that spill out across the room like an upturned bowl of marbles.

But perhaps most notable of all is the record's shitfaced sense of exuberance. From Bolan's myriad ejaculations before musical breakdowns to the fantastical song titles ("Metal Guru," "Spaceball Ricochet," "Chariot Choogle"), The Slider is the Prozac of glam rock: an aural smile pressed upon wax in the early '70s that's still grinning nearly 40 years later.