Monday, 28 May 2018

David Bowie - Diamond Dogs (1974)


Released May 1974

Recorded at Olympic Studios, London

Many felt “Diamond Dogs” was Bowie’s “return to form” after the underwhelmingly received “Pin Ups” album of sixties cover versions. It had a lot of the guitar-driven glam rock essence of “Aladdin Sane”. Notably, however, tiny bits of wah-wah funky guitar were creeping in to the sound. A pointer to the mid-seventies “soul” phase Bowie went through.


1. Future Legend
2. Diamond Dogs
3. Sweet Thing
4. Candidate
5. Sweet Thing (Reprise)
6. Rock 'n' Roll With Me
7. We Are The Dead
8. 1984
9. Big Brother
10. The Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family

Kicking off with the spoken intro “Future Legend” we are launched by cow-bell into the Stones-y title track before the album gives us its magnificent centrepiece, the triptych of “Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)”, full of risque lyrics and unsettling imagery. Bear in mind this is supposed to be that strange thing, the “concept album” we see a lot of recurring images of futurism, androgyny, mutants, drugs, animals, urgent sex in doorways etc. All very addictive and not a little seedy.

This is no more a concept album than “Ziggy” though, just a collection of great “glammy” rock songs. No more, no less.

The classic single, “Rebel Rebel” sees Bowie himself playing a scratchy lead guitar having unceremoniously dispensed with the great Mick Ronson. “Rock And Roll With Me” is a little plodding but has a great hook. “We Are The Dead” is the album’s menacing “forgotten” track that I enjoy listening to more than the others these days. “1984” sees the afore-mentioned wah-wah guitar as Bowie turns just a little funky and “Big Brother” continues the “future shock” theme.

“The Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family” sees the album end on a chant, a never ending nightmarish loop. Despite the somewhat rough sound in places, “Dogs” has a fond place in many fans’ hearts as possibly Bowie’s last “rock” album. Certainly his last “glam” output.Time for a change eh, David?

** Regarding the various remasters around - the EMI/RYKO has the bonus tracks, “Dodo” and the alternative, extended “Candidate” but it has a lo-fi, muffled sound, in my opinion.

The 1999 remaster is clear, sharp and loud.


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