BE BOP DELUXE: Drastic plastic LP UK. 1978 Killer Art Rock. Check ALL samples + and audio / video reviews of the album.


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Label: Harvest ‎– SHSP 4091, Harvest ‎– 0C 062 06598
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK
Released 1978
Genre: Art Rock
A1 Electrical Language 4:47
Guitar [Synthesizer Guitar] – Bill Nelson
Loops [Drum Tape Loop] – Simon Fox
A2 New Precision 4:39
Loops [Drum Tape Loop], Percussion [Tom-toms, Military Snare Drum] – Simon Fox
Noises [Swimming Pool Bubbles] – Charles Tumahai
Noises [White Noise], Electronics [Oscillations] – Bill Nelson
A3 New Mysteries 4:44
Drums [Sonor Drum Kit] – Simon Fox
Noises [White Noise], Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Tambourine, Cowbell – Bill Nelson
A4 Surreal Estate 4:59
Grand Piano – Andy Clark
Percussion [Tuned Wine Bottles, Pots & Pans], Whistling – Simon Fox
Piano, Mandolin, Drums, Bells [Sonor Kit], Cabasa, Whistle [Train], Effects [Gun Shots], Whistling – Bill Nelson
Whistling – Jan Nelson, Paul Bailey
A5 Love In Flames 4:08
Acoustic Guitar – Bill Nelson
Noises [Blisters] – Simon Fox
B1 Panic In The World 5:02
Piano [Acoustic] – Andy Clark
Tambourine, Percussion – Bill Nelson
B2 Dangerous Stranger 3:04
Acoustic Guitar – Bill Nelson
Piano [Acoustic] – Andy Clark
B3 Superenigmatix 2:10
Guitar [Synthesizer Guitar], Acoustic Guitar [12-string], Noises [Vacuum Cleaner] – Bill Nelson
Piano [Acoustic], Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Andy Clark
B4 Visions Of Endless Hopes  2:22
Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar [12-string], Cymbal [Finger Cymbals] – Bill Nelson
Synthesizer [Bass Moog] – Andy Clark
B5 Possession 2:35
Tambourine – Bill Nelson
B6 Islands Of The Dead 3:43
Acoustic Guitar, Tambourine, Cabasa, Marimba – Bill Nelson
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Andy Clark

Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.

Backing Vocals – Charles Tumahai (tracks: A1 to A3, B3)
Bass – Charles Tumahai (tracks: A1 to B3, B5, B6)
Drums – Simon Fox  (tracks: A5 to B3, B5, B6)
Electric Guitar – Bill Nelson
Lead Vocals – Bill Nelson (tracks: A1 to B3, B5, B6)
Producer – Bill Nelson, John Leckie
Sleeve [Design], Photography By – Hipgnosis
Synthesizer [Mini-moog] – Andy Clark (tracks: A1; A3, A4, B1, B5)
Synthesizer [Poly-moog] – Andy Clark (tracks: A1 to B1, B5)
Written-By – Bill Nelson
Has cardboard sleeve with lyrics, black vinyl

5.0 out of 5 stars The future sure is tense,
Bill Nelson has never been content simply to tread water by repeating a previously successful formula, and the transformation of his band Be Bop Deluxe from straight rock to post-punk minimalism is completed with this, their final album before he split the group and formed the experimental but short-lived Red Noise. After the guitar excesses of Axe Victim and Futurama, Be Bop began to attract attention in the USA, and Nelson, who’s no fool, must have realised there was a good chance of his band becoming very big over there had he continued in the same vein. To his credit, he put artistic integrity and his desire to experiment ahead of the lure of the dollar, and Drastic Plastic, released in 1978, is certainly very different from those first two albums four years earlier, although 1976s Modern Music had showed the direction in which the band was heading. Even so, the album must have surprised many fans; the word “drastic” is not misplaced. The tender lyrics directed towards his wife Jan have largely been replaced by descriptions of a confusing and sometimes frightening new world. Musically, its stark, black and white, with most tracks having a relentless rhythm that is repetitive, but never in a boring way; rather, one feels comforted by the hypnotic feel. Electrical Language welcomes you in, its lyrics consisting of the same four lines repeated, mantra-like. After two more fairly intense songs, there is some light relief given by the delightfully odd Surreal Estate, with its see-sawing, piano-led tune and Whistle While You Work coda. Love in Flames is the hardest, most aggressive and guitar-based track, somehow reminding me of early Stranglers. Panic in the World and Dangerous Stranger, the former borrowing the riff from Bowies Heroes, continue the “Brave New 1984” theme, then comes the extraordinary Superenigmatix, subtitled Lethal Appliances for the Home with Everything, in which machines have apparently taken us over. Its lilting piano is abruptly hijacked by barked, staccato lyrics. A dramatic change of style arrives with the slow, hesitant instrumental Visions of Endless Hopes, recorded outdoors. Listening to its fragile, fractured beauty, you can almost feel the suns warmth. The respite is brief, however: Possession returns us to crisp, rapid rhythms and more paranoia about inanimate objects (“I think machines and clocks have secret motives”) then comes what was the final track on the original album, Islands of the Dead, written by Nelson as a reaction to the death of his father. Its a slow, gentle song, mixing sadness and hope, and is quite a relief, an easing of all the tension that’s preceded it. The three bonus tracks rather spoil the feel of the album (my advice would be to listen to them separately from the rest) although they are all worthwhile, particularly Blimps, a strange, doom-laden instrumental that sounds like an attacked piano crying for help. Even if it were a musical failure (it certainly isn’t), Drastic Plastic would still deserve great credit for the sheer bravery of its change of style from previous works. Few other albums have shown a comparable shift: Sergeant Pepper, of course, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, Bowies Low….Talking of which, the NME once said of Low that however long ago it was made, it would always sound like the future. No less a compliment can be paid to this album.


5.0 out of 5 stars Lets hear it for the black sheep,
Back in the late 1970s, when I declared this to be my favourite Be Bop Deluxe album, my “Modern Music”-loving friends would shake their heads knowingly. “Bad purchase”, they’d say. Well, they might as well shake their heads until they drop off, because I haven’t changed my opinion. This album is full of great melodies, vivid images and, as ever, impeccable playing. Bill Nelson did seem to have a thing about drowning as it features in a few of the songs, yet, far from being depressing, “Drastic Plastic” retains a sense of humour. At a time when the new wave was in full swing, it was still a modern-sounding album, halfway between the Bowie/Roxy Music culture of the early 1970s and the electronic pop of the years to come. The fashion of the era is virtually bypassed, though “Love In Flames” and “Possession” have a sliver of punk attitude. Good purchase, I’d say.


5.0 out of 5 stars Be Bop Deluxe at their best,
This, for me, the best record by Bill Nelson and the crew. I bought it when it was released in 1978, after hearing it on the Alan Freeman Saturday Show: He played one side of the LP, and I have been listening to it regularly ever since.
The songs are a progression and developed a masterful quality from their previous recording, without loosing the style and sound. The tracks cover a mixture of sound; from pounding beat driven songs like ‘Love in Flames’ and ‘Panic in the World’; to beautiful lilting songs of ‘Visions of Endless Hopes’ and ‘Islands of the Dead’.
Ever song is brilliant in both lyrics and sound. If you own any of their other records, then buy this you will not be disappointed. If you like ‘early’ Talking Heads, then this is a must.

Be Bop Deluxe played 53 gigs in 1977, a mighty 27 in the UK in a thorough tour of the towns and the provinces, as well as two at the Hammy Odeon. This was probably the peak of their popularity.

Absolutely brilliant band. A one-off, they sounded like no-one else.

BE BOP DELUXE: Modern Music LP 1976. A masterpiece; most under-rated rock band ever. Art rock, progressive rock. Check audio + audio / video reviews of the album

BE-BOP DELUXE: Axe Victim LP Gatefold 1974 original, 1st press UK. A total classic mid 70’s art rock. Check audio + and audio /video reviews of the album

Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg


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