INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Classic Rock SEPTEMBER 2019 - by Max Bell
PHIL MANZANERA: DIAMOND HEAD
One for your pleasure.
Guitarist Phil Manzanera wasn't the first Roxy member to knock out a solo album - Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno and Andy Mackay all had - but his credentials to do so in 1975 were as pertinent as his colleagues'; before Diamond Head he'd worked with John Cale, Nico and Canterbury scenesters Quiet Sun.
For Diamond Head he employed Eno and Robert Wyatt (whose deadpan delivery of the opening Frontera is a delight) as vocalists while other Roxy men chipped in, not to mention old mates the MacCormick brothers, who pop up on the avant-garde East Of Echo. If that sounds like too much democracy, the results outweigh any misgivings. Manzanera's sparkling guitar work, somewhat overshadowed by his famous band, is always tasteful and expressive. The songs embrace Spanish/Latin American themes which mirror the artist's image, and dance numbers and Euro instrumentals that make the listener sit up and take notice. The intriguing Miss Shapiro, smashed along by The Great Paul Thompson's drum clutter, now sounds like an almighty collision between Bowie, Pink Floyd and The Bees. Fancy something more Venezuelan? Lagrima and Carhumba put sweet sashay over cool jazzy rhythms.
Possibly taking its name from a Hawaiian volcano, Diamond Head remains a Technicolor triumph. Estupendo!