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Roxy Music - Viva! Roxy Music CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

3.78 | 67 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars For those who think Roxy Music are little more than a sophisticated pop band, this will be a surprise, or even a positive shock. As a matter of fact, this is very probably the band's proggiest release ever, boasting as it does the presence of two legends of Seventies prog such as Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. The quirky, elegantly wasted songs of Roxy's art-rock era are given a sumptuous live treatment by a band with a lineup to die for. Though Bryan Ferry's crooner-on-acid vocals may be an acquired taste for some, here they are at their most expressive, lazy and sensual at times, almost menacing at others. Phil Manzanera, undoubtedly one of the most underrated guitarists around, is a real master of the instrument, fluid and brilliant throughout; while Andy MacKay's sax is essential to the band's sound, though obviously he gets often forgotten in those annoying "best of" polls. Last but not least, long-time Roxy drummer Paul Thompson perfectly complements John Wetton's muscular bass lines .

The eight tracks on the album are handpicked among Roxy Music's all-time classics, those the band still perform live to this day - notably the sax-driven "Out of the Blue", which opens the proceedings in style (and what a performance of Jobson on violin!), and energetic, almost danceable closer "Do the Strand". Absolute standouts, though, are the album's two longest tracks, the ten-minute-plus "If There Is Something" and my personal favourite, the haunting, tense "Every Dream Home a Heartache" (great title too), one of Roxy's undisputed masterpiece, whose climax is nothing short of spectacular, with Ferry's voice sounding almost desperate in its intensity.

Though Roxy Music may have gone the easy listening way in their later albums, "Viva!" bears witness to what a fantastic live band they were in their heyday - not to mention to the extremely high quality of their songwriting. Lovers of prog could do much worse than add this powerful live album to their ever-increasing collection.

Raff | 4/5 |


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