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Roxy Music - Siren CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

3.67 | 205 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Roxy Music's fifth studio album was (and remains) a quintessential model of modern rock in the mid-1970s. It might actually be easier to appreciate now, three decades later, than when the album was new, and sounded like such a calculated mainstream sell-out of the original Roxy vision. The sartorial weirdness of the ENO years was gone; the world-weary decadence of songs like "Mother of Pearl" had mellowed; what remained were only the suave European manners that would define the band for years to come.

Even the absurdly popular single "Love Is the Drug" sounds better in retrospect. In 1975 it was one of those ubiquitous AM radio hits (like JETHRO TULL's "Bungle in the Jungle", released a year earlier) that hardcore fans knew didn't really represent the true spirit of the band: in this case a truly shortsighted reaction expressing the connoisseur's distrust of sudden commercial success.

This was, keep in mind, an entirely different, less adventurous Roxy Music than the art school glam-rockers of 1972. The group by then belonged entirely to Bryan Ferry, but unlike later Roxy albums (all of them de facto Ferry solo projects) this one meshed like a well oiled, perfectly tuned machine. Even more than on earlier efforts, the music here was anchored by a rock-solid rhythm section, led by the stalwart drumming of Paul Thompson. It proved to be his farewell appearance on a Roxy studio album, and his muscular 4-4 punch, so at odds with the decade's penchant for jazz-influenced hyper-virtuosity, is a large part of what makes the album so remarkably fresh for such an undeniable artifact of its time (for proof, I direct your attention to the gut-thumping intro to "Just Another High").

"Siren" was the band's final album before their initial breakup, which couldn't have been better planned. After the shock waves from the Punk revolution had receded, Ferry was able to reconvene an even sleeker, slicker Roxy Music, one that would serve as a blueprint for the copycat dance-floor fashions of the New Romantics in the 1980s. Except for a few more, likeminded Bryan Ferry solo albums ("In Your Mind", "The Bride Stripped Bare"), this one would retire the classic Roxy Music sound of the 1970s.

One last observation: in a forum dedicated only to Progressive Rock the album probably wouldn't earn anything more than a respectable three stars. But a strict interpretation of the (revised?) Prog Archives rating guidelines allows me to happily reward it with an extra star, as an 'excellent addition to any rock [and not strictly Prog, take note] music collection'. Any album marking the end of an era for such an influential band deserves no less.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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