Quiet Sun

(CD - #5033011)

Review by Ted Mills

Phil Manzanera's pre-Roxy Music group never got to release their first attempt at an album, but in a break from Roxy in 1974, Manzanera regrouped the band and put out this effort, recorded at the same time as his solo extravaganza Diamond Head. Here, Manzanera disappears into the art rock group dynamic; the album is a selection of progressive jams featuring some tasty guitar work, complex rhythmic structures, and the always reliable bass work of Bill MacCormick. There is a certain dryness to the whole proceeding, a holding back, a lack of warmth, but perhaps this perception is derived from over half the tracks sounding so much better a year later as part of 801's Live, including "Sol Caliente," "Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small, Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil," and especially "Rongwrong." Here the Charles Hayward song sounds like a university common-room joke, with its name-dropping of "reading Schoenberg in the bath" and such. Compared to the lush arrangement and rewritten lyrics of the Brian Eno-sung 801 version, Quiet Sun sounds like one album away from brilliance.