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Roxy Music - Roxy Music CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

4.05 | 278 ratings

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5 stars Being a proud and one of the very first Roxy Fans, this review will turn out to be more of a religious experience than your standard, wordy, humor laced offering from yours truly, but time has come to explain what all the Roxy fuss is about. For the record (no pun intended) I got this as a pre-release from a fellow student in Switzerland who had gone to London and brought back from EG records a dozen copies before it had even hit the stores, fresh from the hands of producer Peter Sinfield of KC fame. The younger fans perhaps won't comprehend just how progressive this was in 1972 but at a time when jeans and t shirts were the most common rock garb, a few wild British musicians (Gary Glitter, Marc Bolan, David Bowie) openly advocated a somewhat more extravagant wardrobe, with make-up, boa feathers and "the androgynous" look, which defiantly blurred the sexes and added a touch of decadence that revisited the raw pre WWII Berlin Cabaret style. Obviously, the cover art (both inside and out) was highly seductive and openly bizarre (the inner jacket showing each musician in odd dress is still timeless to this day) and revolted many rock fans who contemptuously branded this as "fag- rock" until they heard the music!

I remember playing "Re-Make/Re-Model" on our school radio without showing the cover and the reactions were unanimous: "Wow man, that is mind blowing stuff", a rollicking roller-coaster tune that starts off with cafeteria sound effects and suddenly blasts a crooning vocal line with furious sonic abandon "I tried but could not find the waaaay", frankly punky 5 years before the advent of Johnny Rotten! "I can tatatalk myself to death, oooo Show me!". Guitarist Manzanera frantically urging his riff, soloing with unfettered mania, Mackay's sax blaring like a sultry banshee, Eno sexually torturing his VCS3 and the majestic Paul Thompson drumming like there is no tomorrow. Ferry's vocal is this side of heavy, showing right off the bat that he can sing and rock with subtle abandon. "Ladytron" displays strong prog tendencies as Mackay introduces a soft lament on oboe, paving the way for "You've got me girl on the runaround" with aquatic e-piano and the leap into "Lady, if ya wanna find lover, then look no further" all expertly drawled with a "Newcastle meets Memphis" accent that defies logic and would characterize the Bryan Ferry vocal style (that little country twinge on "If There's Something" on this album and later on "Prairie Rose") , the genius galloping Thompson drums lead the oboe into an exuberant solo with Bryan oohing "I used you and I abused you and then I loose you but still you don't suspect me" Eno's quirky synths flush this one into the stratosphere. Sorry folks, but this is masterful stuff. "If There's Something" as previously noted , begins with a country style, slide "gueetar", a mere prelude for a haunting sax intro that morphs quickly into one of the finest solos ever, with Ferry spilling his guts with total passion verging on hysteria "I would do anything for you, swim all the ocean floor", simply spellbinding music. "Virginia Plain" is supercharged pop with incredibly rapid vocals ("Baby Jane's in Acapulco, we are flying now to Riooooo"), great musicianship with Eno's booming synth monoliths in particular and a killer ending (Note: no rock band has had as many brilliant starts and endings as RM on almost all their tunes, details, details). "2HB" is a smoky lounge croon from our Humphrey Bogart/Bryan Ferry a "Here's Looking at You Kid" lament that purposefully meanders, very laid back and dreamy with Thompson's fluid drums ushering towards the exit of side 1 . These first 5 tracks are just so meaningful to me, literally forging both my musical tastes as well as underlining my rebellion towards the fashion trends and dressing well when it wasn't yet cool (never liked jeans!). While Side 2 has some flashes , they simply pale in comparison to this quintet (the "Bob Medley", "Sea Breezes" and "Bitter's End" showing some intriguing proggy moments).

With this album, Roxy Music turned the pop-rock world on its head, creating a stylistic wave that would later define a generation of future bands (Japan, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Fixx, Ultravox, Icehouse etc.) and introduce massive new abilities (Manzanera is a guitar icon, Eno needing no introduction, Mackay being arguably a huge talent and Thompson, one of the finest rock drummers in history). Bryan Ferry remains a hugely underrated lyricist and singer, exuding charm and class in a genre that has precious few gentlemen. While the next album "For Your Pleasure" will reach even loftier levels of genius, this is a fine package.

5 proggy pin-up enos

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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