Be Bop Deluxe

Modern Music

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Things had changed for Be Bop Deluxe by the time of the group's fourth album. The band that turned up in glam rock regalia on its 1974 debut, Axe Victim, was in suit and tie on the cover of Modern Music in 1976. Inside, the band's transformation into a sophisticated pop group seemed complete. Arrangements were still ornate, but the songs were dominated by their highly imagistic lyrics, and as often as not, Nelson was borrowing ideas from the Beatles. It didn't quite work, despite pleasant numbers such as "Orphans of Babylon" and "Kiss of Light," perhaps because a true pop sensibility requires a gift for simplicity that Nelson has never exhibited. The album charted high in England and made the Top 100 in the U.S., but it was Be Bop's peak, not its breakthrough.

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