4.5 out of 5 Stars!
To me, this is one of the most overlooked and finest “Art Rock” groups in history, with also one of the best “unsung guitar heroes” in Bill Nelson.
During its (way too) short history, the group started as almost a “David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust” clone. The band’s 1974 debut album, Axe Victim—perhaps my second favorite Be-Bop Deluxe release, due to Bill Nelson’s often-brilliant guitar leads—seems almost an extension of Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album. Then Nelson presumably fired the other band members and hired new musicians, dumped the glaring “glam” image, and Be-Bop Deluxe quickly developed its own rather unique musical style, with its third album, Sunburst Finish, being (arguably) the band’s “masterpiece.”
On this album, Nelson’s searing guitar leads amidst the quirky keyboards and catchy melodies (on “Fair Exchange,” “Beauty Secrets,” “Ships in the Night,” “Blazing Apostles,” and “Crying to the Sky”) are, at times, simply riveting, so this firmly remains my favorite album by the band.
And hell, the album cover alone is worthy of a solid “5 Stars.” A classic album all around!