Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 35

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The final Top of the Pops album from the momentous year of 1973 is one of the most adventurous in the entire series' history. Between David Essex's "Lamplight," Roxy Music's "Street Life," and Alvin Stardust's "My Coo Ca Choo," it was as if the British singles-buying public had turned its back on conventional-sounding records altogether, and wanted nothing more than another heavily phased, weirdly accented, electrifyingly jerky three minutes of noise. And, picking up Top of the Pops, Vol. 35, that's exactly what they got. "My Coo Ca Choo" is the revelation, as dark as Stardust's black leather outfit, as sinister as the snarl with which he performed the song, it is further dignified by a guitar that sounds like it's being garroted, fuzzed and filthy from the moment it plugs in. Against that, of course, can be weighed the album's makeweights -- lackluster versions of such lackluster songs as "Paper Roses," "Solitaire," and "You Won't Find Another Fool" (like whoever bought that record in the first place) win no friends among even pappy pop enthusiasts.

But the demon guitar noise returns on T Rex's "Truck On (Tyke)," which barrels out of the speakers like a truck of its own, and Gary Glitter's mammoth "I Love You Love Me Love" swings like the wildest party in town -- wilder even than that ignited by a raucous take on "Roll Away the Stone." And that is certainly saying something!

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