“Sunburst Finish” by Be-Bop Deluxe (1976)
Release Date: February 1976
Produced by John Leckie, Bill Nelson
Genre: Art-Rock, Proto Punk, New Wave
Chart Positions: #17 (UK), #96 (US)
Singles: “Ships In The Night” #23 (UK)
Singles Certifications: N/A
Other Charting Tracks: N/A
Best Tracks: “Ships In The Night,” “Sleep That Burns,” “Crystal Gazing,” “Speed Of The Wind”
Trivia: “Sunburst Finish” is the third studio album by art rock band Be-Bop Deluxe, released in February 1976. It was recorded in Abbey Road Studios, London. The album contains what would become one of their few forays into charts; the February 1976 single "Ships in the Night" reached #23 on the UK Singles Charts. The album was their first album to enjoy chart success in the US and UK subsequently brining a renewed interest in their first two albums.
“Sunburst Finish” is one of the great rock albums of the 1970s, the band is absolutely dialed in throughout, Bill Nelson’s songwriting has never been more accessible and sharp. “Fair Exchange,” with typically blistering lead work from Nelson, kicks the proceedings off in style. From there the album showcases prime examples of hard rock, progressive rock, and power pop. With never a dead spot to be found, “Sunburst Finish” is simply packed with killer riffs, top-notch performances, and great melodies.
The multi-talented Bill Nelson wrote all ten songs on the album (including the three bonus tracks on the 1990 reissue, he played all the guitars, sang lead vocals and co-produced the album. The was very much a Bill Nelson album as it was a Be-Bop Deluxe album. As a sidenote... did I mention Bill's guitar work on this album is HOT! HOT! HOT!
The album is filled with varying rhythms and musical surprises from beginning to end. The pounding rhythm on "Sleep That Burns" alternates with slower sections building a spacey dream sequence in what has to be one of Be-Bop Deluxe's superior progressive arrangements.
"Sleep That Burns" (1976)
"Ships In The Night" is the song that propelled Be-Bop Deluxe to their next level of success. The song was their first of two singles to reach the UK charts (the other was a four-track single release called "Hot Valves," which includes one track from each of their first four albums with "Blazing Apostles" from "Sunburst Finish"). Bill Nelson's younger brother Ian Nelson played alto saxophone on "Ships In The Night."
Be-Bop Deluxe (1976)