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Roxy Music - Roxy Music CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

4.05 | 279 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars ROXY MUSIC had some interesting origins. It was, of course, founded by vocalist Bryan Ferry who lost his job while teaching ceramics and taking breaks to listen to record albums in class. After this he decided to find some musical mates and hooked up with bass player Graham Simpson. In 1970 he auditioned for lead vocalist in King Crimson to replace Greg Lake and although they didn't find Ferry's vocals suitable for their style, they nonetheless were impressed and helped him form ROXY MUSIC and got them an instant contract with E.G. Records. The name ROXY MUSIC along with the parade of high-class women posing on the early album covers symbolizes a ROXY, which is a showgirl name with plenty of moxie which perfectly sums up both the band's image and aggressive inventive entertaining energy.

The band hit it big time instantly as the public had never heard the perfect blend of glammy art rock mixed with proto-punk energy all laced with progressive rock touches. It was somewhere in the ballpark of David Bowie's catchy glam rockers but more aggressive and in-yer-face. Bryan Ferry's throwback to 50's rock'n'roll making me think of an anachronistic version of Elvis Presley who somehow emerged 20 years later laced with Phil Manzanera's rockin-the-house hard driving guitar riffs that are boosted by the groovy bass lines of Graham Simpson delivering strong and powerful hooks and rhythmic forces are the true ingredients that allow all those rock-n-roll fantasies to emerge. The aspects that really put the music over the top however is the inclusion of Andy Mackay's oboe and sax runs that give the overall sound of that good ole rock'n'roll retro feel from a previous era and of course the mind-blowing futuristic sounds of Brian Eno's VCS3 synthesizer attacks and tape loop effects that treat us to one of the most deliciously unique hybridizations of musical forces in all of rock history.

While the music is firmly rooted in the art rock / pop world with ridiculously catchy hooks and melodies to instantly reel in the listener, all of the subtle details are ever so brilliant as well. Brian Eno was famous for not only dishing out his duties as a straight-on musical performer but was also a pioneer in the art of operating the mixing desk which processed the band's individual parts with his VCS3 synthesizer and tape recorders as well as contributing backing vocals. The slides and effects may seem like they are an inherent part of the music but actually give the whole production value a much smoother "cool cat" feel than they would otherwise, all of which is amplified by Bryan Ferry's crooning charismatic vocal style. The net effect of the groovy bass and jazzy sax and oboe sequences mixed with the passionate vocals and guitar parts all coincide to produce some of the most unique sounds to emerge in the outrageously musically rich year of 1972. The only aspect of this music that doesn't blow me away is the lazy keep-the-beat-and-not-much-else drumming style of Paul Thompson. However while he may not blow me away, he does the adequate job as percussionist-in-chief and allows the focus to remain on the melodic aspects of the music.

There was magic afoot on this one! It's one of those perfectly executed albums where all the elements are in cahoots with super-strong songwriting leaving a steadfast and enduring impression. The album has actually had different versions over the years with the Top 10 UK hit "Virginia Plain" not appearing on the original LP releases but is pretty much included on US releases and subsequent pressings. I was a latecomer to this debut because i didn't care for some of the later releases but once you lay ears on this magnificent debut it is apparent what all the fuss is about. Masterpiece! A good ten years ahead of their time before all the post-punk and new wave bands flooded the 80s. All that inspiration began with this single release but nothing i've ever heard surpasses the innovation and perfect execution delivered here.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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