[Review] Eno: Here Come The Warm Jets (1974)

A candybox of art-rock confections featuring members of Roxy Music, King Crimson and Sharks that reveals Eno to be a one-of-a-kind kook.

Kronomyth 2.0: Virginia plain with sprinkles on top.

This is jolly uncle Eno skipping down from the high tower of pseudo-intellectualism (No Pussyfooting) to the cluttered basement of exhibitionist art rock last visited on Roxy Music’s first. With three Roxy members in tow, it’s tempting to see Jets as Eno fronting Roxy, except this is more about Eno being Eno not being in Roxy anymore.

He is, for one thing, much freakier than Bryan Ferry. If Eno in lipstick and eyeshadow is a sight, songs like “Dead Finks Don’t Talk,” “Baby’s On Fire” and “Blank Frank” are a sight stranger. Credited with treatments and simplistic keyboards, you might mistake Brian for a bit player in his own circus, but make no mistake, he is the master puppeteer, ushering in a remarkable assortment of defiantly quirky rock songs, feedback-drenched yet melodious mutations and some wistful songs that show the artist’s sensitive side. Subsequent albums would refine this approach, then abandon it altogether; none of them have the exuberance of Jets.

Although Roxy is the reference point, Eno isn’t remotely interested in cultivating Ferry’s urbane persona. This album is all about pushing buttons, pushing boundaries, pushing his own personal freak flag further up the pole. Listening to this twenty-odd years ago, I had the impression I’d stumbled into a very big rabbit hole where all the strange fantasies I had about music had come to life. It took a series of stifling ambient albums to shake me out of my reverie of Eno, but not before I’d snatched up all of the classic “vocal” albums. These albums still form the foundation of what I listen to today and represent some of the most imaginative, unconventional and exciting works I’ve heard.

Original LP Version

A1. Needles In The Camel’s Eye (Eno/Phil Manzanera) (3:25)
A2. The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch (Eno) (3:00)
A3. Baby’s On Fire (Eno) (5:15)
A4. Cindy Tells Me (Eno/Phil Manzanera) (3:30)
A5. Driving Me Backwards (Eno) (5:15)
B1. On Some Faraway Beach (Eno) (4:40)
B2. Blank Frank (Eno/Robert Fripp) (3:35)
B3. Dead Finks Don’t Talk (Eno, arr. by Paul Thompson/Busta Cherry Jones/Nick Judd/Eno) (4:20)
B4. Some of Them Are Old (Eno) (4:40)
B5. Here Come The Warm Jets (Eno) (4:00)

The Players

Eno (vocals, simplistic keyboards, snake guitar, electric larynx, synthesizer, treatments) with Robert Fripp (guitars on A3/A5/B2), Busta Cherry Jones (bass guitar on A2/A4/B1/B3), Nick Judd (keyboards on A4/B3), Simon King (percussion on A1/A3/A5/B1/B2/B5), Nick Kool and The Koolaids (Nick Kent) (keyboards on B2), Bill MacCormick (bass guitar on A1/B2), Andy Mackay (keyboards & saxophone sextet on B1/B4), Phil Manzanera (guitars on A1/A2/A4), Paul Rudolph (guitars and bass guitar on A3/A5/B5), Marty Simon (percussion on A2/A3/A4), Chris “Ace” Spedding (guitars on A1/A2), Sweetfeed (backing vocals on B1/B2), Chris Thomas (extra bass on A2), Paul Thompson (percussion on B3), Lloyd Watson (slide guitars on B4), John Wetton (bass guitar on A3/A5). Produced by Eno; engineered by Derek Chandler; mixing engineered by Eno, Chris Thomas, Denny Bridges, Phil Chapman, Paul Hardiman.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on January 11, 1974* in the UK and the US (Island, ILPS 9268) and Japan (Polydor, MPF-1168); reached #26 on the UK charts and #151 on the US charts. (*UK release date as cited in Brian Eno feature article that appeared in 11/10/73 issue of Melody Maker.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in the UK (Polydor, 2303 063) and Italy and New Zealand (Polydor, 2310 574).
  2. Re-packaged with Before And After Science on 2-for-1 2LP in 1977 in the UK (Polydor, 2683 082).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1982 in the US (Editions EG, ENO 1).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1987 in the UK (Editions EG, EGCD/EGMC-11).
  5. Re-released on remastered compact disc on May 31, 2004 in the US (Astralwerks, 77293) and in 2004 in Japan (Virgin, VJCP-68656).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2009 in the UK (EMI, ENOCDX-1).

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