Diamond Dogs Review (1989 CD re-issue)

by Martin Aston / Q Magazine

1991

After Ziggy’s suicide and temporary resurrection as Aladdin Sane (who retreated into his mod youth on Pin Ups), David Bowie had to look futurewards-and being David Bowie, went as far as he could, to Apocalypse Now. After plans to stage a musical 1984 were thwarted by George Orwell’s estate, David Bowie stirred in a cast of androgynous deviants and completed Diamond Dogs, abandoning the Spiders, hiring sessioneers (Herbie Flowers, Tony Newman) and handling all guitar chores himself. Diamond Dogs was musical years away from David Bowie’s past too; from 1984‘s Phillyfunk excursion and the futuristic garage band raunch of the title track and Rebel Rebel (an anthem of prime Ziggyish glitter-pop) to extravagant ballads like Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me, Big Brother and Sweet Thing/Candidate that used a scene-painting Moog, mellotron and pining sax to considerably dramatic effect. David Bowie’s voice also added a rich, sonorous warble to its register. The re-issue’s bonus tracks, the early plastic soul prototype Dodo and a completely different Candidate, lack clarity and finished arrangement but are nevertheless semi-precious curios.
Q Rating: ***

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