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Roxy Music - Roxy Music CD (album) cover

ROXY MUSIC

Roxy Music

 

Crossover Prog

4.01 | 195 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rob The Good
5 stars Certainly one of England's greatest Art Rock bands - certainly, you won't find fancy time signatures, poncy keyboard solos and 20 minute epics, but what you will find is some highly original avant-garde rock which pushes the boundaries. Part of the early 70s Glam rock phenomenon, Roxy's originality lies in its seamless combination of differing facets such as 30s/40s caberet, hard rock, jazz, pop art and spacey futuristic tinkering. And is it interesting? Oh yes!

The album begins with the fan favourite "Re-make/Re-model", which was played on the recent reunion tours. It starts with the sounds and ambience of a cocktail party, but quickly turns into a rocker powered by pretty much every member of the band. One great aspect of the song is that it isn't dominated as such by any particular instrument - later in the song, every band member gets a solo (even Brian Eno gets to squeak along with his Synth). Definitely pop with a difference (which on the whole, isn't a bad definition of art rock).

Second, we have "Ladytron", inspired by 60s pop art paintings. The song begins with a juxtaposition of the oboe (classical instruments) and Eno's spacey synth (futuristic instruments), in order to apparently achieve a sound of a lunar landing. Well why not? It almost morphs into a ballad of sorts, but in-between each verse the tempo is upped, as Ray Manzanera's guitar and Andy Mackay's sax/oboe play on, backed by Paul Thompson's power house drumming. Oh, and Eno's fancy synth sound at the end!

The next song, "If There Is Something" has quite a different structure to it. It starts off as a rocker with an almost country feel to it, but the vocals get gradually more intense and the song becomes not what you thought it was! Andy Mackay's sax gets to shine, and Bryan Ferry gets to sing about growing potatoes by the score...I know I love it! Again, Paul Thompson's drumming and Phil Manzanera's guitar constitute a firm backbone.

Next, we have the single "Virginia Plain" (which was not on the UK LP, but added for the remaster...luckily). It certainly sounds like it was designed to be a hit, but it is nothing more than harmless bouncy fun. It certainly matches the general "experimental pop" approach of the album. I feel that Graham Simpson's (or is it Rik Kenton?) bass is worthy of some mention here - steady and strong, he keeps the song rollicking along at a great pace.

"2HB" is a song where the keyboards and synths come to the fore - Bryan Ferry's tribute to Humphrey Bogart ("here's looking at you kid/at least not yet"). The best part of the song is the keyboards...spacey and futuristic without being seriously cheesy. Again, Paul Thompson provides some solid drumming.

Side 2 of the album is its more experimental side - peoples' opinions vary, but for example, some regard it as boring, or unlistenable, and others describe it as intriguing and fun. Personally, I thought of it as being a little tedious initially, but it has grown on me, and I now love it.

"The Bob [Medley]", which is incidentally, about the Battle of Britain (BOB), is an odd number. It starts of as a hard rocker, and then slowly segues into some jumpy oboe, and then into some sounds of air raids, AA guns and bombing, only to have it turn around and start rocking again! We do have a brief relapse, with some nice piano and oboe, but hey...it once again goes rock on us, and ends triumphantly. It is only my opinion, but I believe that this is one of the moments where Roxy truly came close to emulating classic Prog.

"Chance Meeting" starts off with some nice piano and Bryan Ferry's vocals, only to be interrupted by Phil Manzanera's guitar being treated by Brian Eno's synths - a feature of early Roxy: feeding instruments through a synthesizer to make them sound just a little bit more odd. Certainly, this is one of Roxy's most avant-garde "short" songs.

The next track, "Would You Believe?" has some nice Bryan Ferry crooning, only to turn into an "every-man-for-himself-Jazzfest" - complete with frantic vocals, sax and incessant soloing! If "Chance Meeting" was the time for Phil's guitar, "Would You Believe?" is the showcase for Andy's sax.

"Sea Breezes" has some nice wind ambience, with some subdued keyboards accompanied by Bryan's intense vocals. This is in fact the longest song on the album, and probably the strangest (although Bob is a good contender). Certainly, Roxy at its most avant-garde (for now).

The album concludes nicely with "Bitter's End" - a nice little tune that harkens back to "Re-make/Re-model", with its cocktail party ambience, and reminds me of caberet a bit. The band members all singing the word "Bizarre" nicely sums up the whole album as a matter of fact.

All in all, a fantastic album which all art rockers should have. It IS a masterpiece of progressive music, but it won't be for everyone - is has its poppy moments, but as I said, this is "pop with a difference". I heartily recommend it, and Roxy's later albums... expecially "For Your Pleasure".

Rob The Good | 5/5 |

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