Kim Fowley

International Heroes

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After the purposefully dirty proto-punk onslaught of I'm Bad, Kim Fowley shifted gears into something less outwardly off-putting on 1973's International Heroes. The album has often been described as Fowley's glam rock effort, though the addled folk-rock of the arrangements (banjos, accordions, and even pennywhistles bob in and out of the mix) has a good bit more to do with Hunky Dory-era David Bowie than the electric swagger of Ziggy Stardust or the more proletarian sounds of Slade and the Sweet. As usual, the lyrics reflect the darkly witty obsessions of sleaze genius Fowley, whether he's trying to impress a nameless woman with his incoherent love grunts on "So Good Wish You Would," or making some kind of socio-political statement about the media on "Ugly Stories About Rock Stars and the War." While Fowley has always been a bit of a loon, he's a loon with professional standards, and International Heroes shows that he knows how to put together an album; the studio band is sharp and the arrangements are imaginative, even when Fowley's attempts to sing with a Dylan-esque drawl help to push tunes like "World Wide Love" and the title track toward absurdity. Fowley gets a bit of his rock & roll groove back on the grand finale "Dancing All Night" but for the most part, International Heroes is one of Fowley's "thoughtful" albums, which is to say he was hoping America's youth would come to love him for his mind as well as his body. And the truth is, they'd fallen for worse before, and have ever since: at least Fowley has the talent and the force of will to back up his crazed world view on plastic and make it curiously fun.

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