Space Waltz: S/T (1975)

Another obscurity today, this time from the glam rock 70s. Space Waltz was a one-off created by New Zealander Alastair Riddell and his band (various editions of the album credit it to either the band Space Waltz or Riddell), and to say it mimics David Bowie is almost besides the point. The album basically sounds like what would happen if an artist's record collection was comprised solely of The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (and maybe a couple Cockney Rebel or Be Bop Deluxe records). Riddell's vocals are a dead-ringer for Bowie (while visually he was sort of a hybrid Bowie and Brian Eno visage), and the band milks the musical vibe for all it's worth.

Now, is it a great record? Well, it's not bad, certainly highly stylized and colorful. They definitely lean more towards the camp side of the equation than flat-out the rock & roll, with epic, swooning cabaret drama and outer space androgyny. A few songs, like the more pop-oriented (yet still fascinatingly dramatic) "Out On The Street" and the cowbell-laden "Scars of Love" (a bit of a "Queen Bitch" rip-off) and the fast-moving, conversational "And Up To Now," are a little more straightforward rockers, but much of this seems more focused on nailing the aesthetic than on crafting memorable hooks. The record's two longer tracks in particular veer into proggy territory, shades of Yes by way of a pre-punk NYC off-Broadway production.

That caveat aside, it's one of the better of the lesser-known attempts at walking in the footsteps of Bowie and Roxy Music and T.Rex. At the very least, the work as a whole probably encapsulates what some may consider "glam rock" better than almost anything else out there -- at times, it feels more like a blueprint for the imaginary band in the Velvet Goldmine film than Bowie himself. Riddell would later go on to release a few solo albums before switching gears and directing movies.

As far as I can tell, the album is out of print and doesn't stream, but it's worth tracking down for anyone who enjoys the genre. The individual songs are ripped to YouTube here.

Here's a video for "Out On The Street":
Here's an audio rip of "Scars Of Love":
 ...and an audio rip of "And Up To Now":
Finally, here's a particularly entertaining clip, with the band performing "Beautiful Boy" on some NZ version of "America's Got Talent," where the judges kinda rip them afterwards, and then move on to a performance by some Partridge Family/Brady Bunch-styled kid band:
While we're here, check out Riddell in 1982, by which time he'd swapped his Bowie persona for Gary Numan: