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Arco Valley

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Album Review

It could almost be a fluke but it was a stroke of genius in its own way — for Andi Sexgang's first solo album as such, he ended up with one of the best collaborators anyone could hope for: Mick Ronson. The glam guitar god's background could only have made Sexgang all the more inspired and Arco Valley is the mighty fine result; while it's a very different beast from the early Sex Gang Children days, it's still a sharp and inspired collection of songs. Sexgang himself brought back a few former compatriots to help — Nigel Preston on drums, Cam Campbell on bass, among others — while Ronson did just about everything but play drums, down to the backing vocals. The sprightly kick of "7 Ways to Kill a Man" — a total and complete T. Rex homage, down to the spindly guitar solos — starts everything off and from there Sexgang enjoys a stroll through his musical inspirations without a worry, playing it much more straight (musically at least) than in his jump-cut Sex Gang Children days. His voice unsurprisingly captures even more of a Marc Bolan edge than before, but in a T. Rex rather than a Tyrannosaurus Rex sense, spry and soaring but not squealing, and fine songs like "Queen of Broken Dreams" and "Station 5" are the result. Ronson's musical work never overpowers the vocals, perfectly supporting Sexgang's turns in the spotlight song for song (though the very end-of-'80s synthbass on "Rock Revo" really doesn't work). Other notable touches include a mighty fine cover of an Edith Piaf classic, "Les Amants d'un Jour," and the similarly piano-led confection "Christian Circus Joe." Given the many T. Rex-inspired bands that were starting to surface like Suede, Placebo, the Chainsaw Kittens, and David Garza — not to mention the soon to come production job by Ronson on Morrissey's Your Arsenal, one of his last efforts before his death — Arco Valley is a prescient and underrated release by Sexgang, well worth a listen.

Arco Valley, Andi Sexgang
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