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ROXY MUSIC

Roxy Music

Crossover Prog


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Roxy Music Roxy Music album cover
4.01 | 195 ratings | 32 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Re-Make/Re-Model (5:14)
2. Ladytron (4:26)
3. If There Is Something (6:34)
4. Virginia Plain (2:58) (NOT on original LP)
5. 2HB (4:30)
6. The Bob [medley] (5:48)
7. Chance Meeting (3:08)
8. Would You Believe (3:53)
9. Sea Breezes (7:03)
10. Bitter's End (2:03)

Total Time: 45:37

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bryan Ferry / voices & piano
- Phil Manzanera / guitar
- Brian Eno / synthesizer & tapes
- Graham Simpson, Rik Kenton / bass
- Andy Mackay / oboe & saxophone
- Paul Thompson / drums

Releases information

LP (UK) Island Records ILPS 9200
LP (US) Reprise 2114 (1972) / CD Virgin 47447 (2000) / CD Reprise 2-26039 (2000)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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ROXY MUSIC Roxy Music ratings distribution


4.01
(195 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
28%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

ROXY MUSIC Roxy Music reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars English art rock outfit Roxy Music's self-titled 1972 debut album likely won't match with many people's concept of "progressive rock," but it is a very strong slice of imaginative, eclectic 70s rock in any case. Though I would never compare Roxy to prog "standard bearers" such as Crimson, Genesis, Yes or ELP, there are many "progressive" elements in their material -- particularly on their first five albums.

On this, their first foray into the studio, many of the progressive flavours and shades are down to the presence of the great Brian Eno on synthesizers, tapes and effects. (Following Roxy's sophomore outing FOR YOUR PLEASURE, Eno would go on to a diverse solo career, and a series of ambient collaborations with Robert Fripp, before becoming one of the most influential, sought-after producers in rock.) Eno's visionary, irreverent handling of the synths, and Bryan Ferry's tremolo-laden warblings and croonings -- and artful pose of the jaded lounge singer from a near, dystopian future of empty liaisons and chance encounters -- impart an almost disturbing edge to ROXY MUSIC that would begin to fade by their third album, in favour of more straight-forward (but still quite original and good) rock.

As the younger set say, "it's all good," but some tracks are special standouts: Album opener "Re-Make/Re-Model" gets things off to a rocking start, and Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay really serve up some frantic, kick-ass licks on guitar and sax. Eno makes his presence felt in a big way with some bizarre synth breaks, and Ferry shows that he learned to rock before he could croon.

Next up, "Ladytron" starts out spacey/medieval, thanks to synth and oboe, before Ferry brings the full band into one of their finest signature songs. There are definite "prog-friendly" moments in the heroic keyboard motif, and Manzanera's axe work.

"If There is Something" starts out as a quasi-country psychabilly number, only to gracefully morph into perhaps the best, most memorable track on the disc. Great lyrics, great singing, and some wonderful keyboard/piano themes. (Ferry supplies the piano.) The pounding, precise drums, courtesy of the great Paul Thompson, are notably good on this number. Sing along now: "Lift up your feet and put them on the ground -- the hills were higher, when you were young." Terrific, classic stuff.

The later-added single "Virginia Plain" is good rocking fun, while the eerie "Chance Meeting" is very spacey, and very "prog." More wonderful weirdness follows, before the doo-wop-flavoured "Bitters End" brings this astonishing debut to a tragi-comic, haunting end. "Should make the cognoscenti think" indeed! Smooth on the finish, with a lingering, hard-to-classify, but bold aftertaste.

Yes, ROXY MUSIC is the one that I would recommend curious prog fans to start with. It's a very good album, and provides an essential portrait of how the group that would later produce the slick, mega-selling AVALON started out. I find it difficult to compare the band (especially at this early stage of their career) to any other, so I won't attempt any "sounds like" comparisons. (This heady, hybrid sonic brew must be experienced to be understood!) Suffice to say that Roxy Music masterfully established their own sound, and staked out a unique place in the British rock scene of the time. If you've never heard early Roxy Music, or are fleshing out your collection of Seventies psycho-art rock, I whole-heartedly urge you to check out ROXY MUSIC. A must!

Pass me another martini, would you? What did you say your name was again? Virginia? How very droll. Shall we leave this gaudy gathering, my dear?

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#34003) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 04, 2005

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was stunned to come across the name Roxy Music while paging through Jerry Lucky's book 'The Progressive Rock Files'. The only thing I knew of this band was "Avalon", a video that had aired on MTV in the early '80s, the kind of soft pop balladry that had the Spandau Ballet hater in me raging against Lucky's inclusion of this act into his A-Z glossary of prog acts. But since I also discovered 10cc's several good art-rock albums via this book, I figured maybe there was more to Roxy Music's early days, and investigated in time. Though I think they started to lose the experimental/proggy edge by the time of their third album ('Stranded'), what I found on their second album, and especially their debut, was a broad array of sounds and approaches that equaled a whole that, if not pure prog, certainly fits right up there with the art-rock branch of bands like 10cc, Crack The Sky and Be-Bop Deluxe. I even hear some mid-'70s Amon Duul II in spots. Indeed, this band belongs in the prog family, at least at this early stage.

First, one has to get used to Bryan Ferry's crooning, which at this early stage had a demented edge, a kind of maniacal leer hiding behind the smooth, lounge-ready voice that would eventually dominate later albums. Despite a fairly straight-ahead bit of heavy glamour on opener "Re-make/Re-model", the album starts to show its eccentric colors with the linear freak-out of "Ladytron" and the six-and-a-half minute journey of "If There Is Something". These songs showcase the exciting synergy between guitarist Phil Manzanera and synth/tape/electronics operator Brian Eno. Things continue in a most oddball manner, certainly a left-field and distinctly unique approach to rock is heard throughout "Virginia Plain", "2 H.B." and "The Bob (Medley)". It's with "Chance Meeting" we get a taste of real prog-style layering, with Manzanera's non-guitarish sound effects sparring with Andrew Mackay's atmospheric, moaning sax. Next number "Would You Believe?" is the most throwaway song on the album, but things are repaired by "Sea Breezes", which gives this fascinating album another few layers of depth. Gray-day sadness permeates the atmosphere of "Sea Breezes", with Ferry's voice wringing out a moving bit of dark melancholy. The song is without beats for the first several minutes, Manzanera, Eno and Mackay laying down a gorgeous bed of sounds that evoke the sound of the title. It's a little disconcerting when the rhythm section of Graham Simpson and Paul Thompson break up the vibe with a series of heavy runs and accents, but then Manzanera's sick guitar strangling so totally distracts that it's like a whole other song. Ferry then swings everybody back to the original vibe of the song's first few minutes. An awkward arrangement, going from panoramic beauty to uncomfortable angular shifts and then back again. "Sea Breezes" is a masterpiece. The album ends with the Queen-meets-10cc nightcapper of "Bitters End", putting to rest an album that balances glamour, tragedy, adventure, experimentation and tradition. Recommended to prog fans whose idea of the genre expands beyond the typical Yes/ELP/Genesis definition.

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#34006) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005

Review by NetsNJFan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 Stars ~ ROXY MUSIC's eponymous debut, while borderline Prog, is a milestone in Art Rock. The thing that makes this band so excellent is that they aren't limited to one genre or another. While some Prog bands will noodle on for twenty minutes playing with time signatures and polyrhythms, ROXY MUSIC manages to be just as (if not more) experimental, while staying in the pop song structure. ROXY MUSIC experiments with pop, Glam, prog, jazz, and even country. The band's music is made up of many dissimilar pieces, that amazingly manages to sound both avant-garde and retro. First off, the dominating feature is Bryan Ferry's unique vocal delivery, which has been called "Vampire Crooning". His voice alternates between seductively romantic crooning and frantic gasping. It is an interesting blend. Ferry owes much to the 50's cabaret singers, but still sounds very modern. His musical foil within the band is the enigmatic Brian Eno, who provides synthesizers. Unlike many keyboardists of his time, Eno let's his synths sound completely electronic and 'synthesized', not mimicking strings or flutes. This adds a very futuristic sound to ROXY MUSIC's retro leanings, and it is no wonder Eno is much more influential than others from his period. Andy McKay is one of the most underrated saxophonists in prog, coming from an avant garde backround, McKay adds even more experimentalism to the mix, alternating between smooth sax lines and feverish honking. Phil Manzanera is an excellent guitarist, and is able to mould his sound to fit each song perfectly, switching effortlessly between Country, Jazz, and Rock, sometimes mid song! Paul Thompson (Drums) and Graham Simpson (Bass) are solid but do not shine like the previously mentioned four.

The album kicks off with the ambient sounds of a cocktail party (no doubt courtesy of Eno) before changing into a full-blown rocker, one of ROXY MUSIC's best songs. "Remake, Remodel" could almost be considered the definitive song by this band, as it features both their smooth glam-pop and vanat garde leanings. Each band members shines on this track, and McKay's and Eno's solos are especially envigorating. "Ladytron" is more in the ballad vein, but features a beautifully textural synth introduction, before Ferry's vocals come morphing it into a 50's style pop song/avant garde hyrbrid. This song has some of Eno's best electronics with the band. "If There is Something" is my personal ROXY favorite, and comes very close to traditional prog. It begins as a country tinged slow rocker, but slowly picks up speed, as Ferry's vocals become increasingly frantic (even frightening), before smoothly morphing back into its original form. Andy McKay, again, shines with several dissimilar but appealing sax solo spots. "Virginia Plain" is the song where ROXY MUSIC gives in wholeheartedly to its pop leanings. Nonetheless, out comes one of glam rock's best singles. Driven by an incredibly catchy and inventive melody, this short piece of glam was ROXY's first big hit, and deservedly so. Every band member contributes very well to this song, but Ferry dominates. Side One closes with "2HB", one of their most decidedly lounge room-ish songs. Ferry's smooth vocals amble through this wandering song, which just sort of rambles contentedly for about 5 minutes.

While Side One packed a powerful punch, Side Two, while weaker has many classics as well. It kicks off with "The Bob", ROXY's most experimental song, (which unsurprisingly reeks of Eno). The song begins as a real hard rocker with crunchy guitar, before fading into an odd medley of World War II war sounds with sparse musical accompaniment. The song alternates between these war sounds and actual musical bits. (Manzanera's guitar is especially 50's styled on this song). [Note: the song is called 'the BOB' for Battle of Britain]. "Chance Meeting" is another Ferry ballad, but Manzanera has some real nice experimental guitar moments too. Overall, one of their weaker songs. "Would You Believe" is similar to "Chance Meeting", it is much stronger with some great jazz in the middle. Andy McKay's very American sax is wonderful on this song. "Sea Breezes" is a more ambient tune, which does have good moments but is a little drawn out and dull, despite its very avant garde arrangement. The album closes well with the short "bitter's End", a cabaret style song, (very 30's sounding) which returns to the cocktail party sounds of the "Remake, Remodel", and closes the package nicely. Bryan Ferry's voice is perfectly wistful and subdued on this wispy song. A fitting end to an excellent album.

ROXY MUSIC's debut really is one of the finest rock debuts, and most innovative. They merge so many distinct sounds it is hard to compare them. At least in their early years, they fit just as nicely under the label prog as they do glam. They would get less experimental and more mainstream as Eno would leave, and Ferry would have complete control, but this 1972 album remains a timeless masterpiece. Extremely reccomended to all prog fans, as a symbol that prog does not just mean long, complex songs, it means Rock innovation. And ROXY MUSIC has it here in abundance.

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Send comments to NetsNJFan (BETA) | Report this review (#44731) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Roxy Music started out by subverting rock & roll's classic stereotypes: the romantic vocals, the guitar/sax solos, the predictable arrangements. Their debut is contrived to be confrontational, which is perhaps why this music was tagged as "art" rock. Pop art is probably the better term, since Roxy Music clearly delights in twisting mundane musical devices into works with much wider implications. At the center of this musical storm is Bryan Ferry, his voice oddly affecting in its mix of parody and pathos, the lone straight man in a mob of musical comedians. Whether he's affecting the pose of the slick Casanova on "Ladytron" or the desperate lover with nothing left to lose on "If There Is Something," Ferry remains the focal point. Saxophones squeak from the corners, synthesizers swirl under the surface, guitars spike out from the speakers and through it all Ferry stands firm, aware that the cacophony is right on cue. Personally, this is one of my favorite Roxy Music albums; they weren't holding anything back here, from the kitchen sink approach of "The Bob (Medley)" to the grotesque solos of "Re-make/Re-model." Yet their debut is a prickly pear compared to some of their later albums; even the most romantic moments have a certain gothic chill to them, like Phil Manzanera's bone-rattling guitar on "Chance Meeting" or the pale atmosphere generated by Eno on "2 H.B." Imagine a crooner lost in the chaos of Limbo, where spatial relationships are distorted and emotions unreasonably intensified, and you'll have a pretty good picture of the first Roxy Music album. Note that reissues from the mid-70s onward included the single "Virginia Plain" to this record, the sort of succinct and sped-up raver that found wider commercial success with rock fans.

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Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Certainly this debut album was worth all the hype that it got upon its release as it was truly groundbreaking, novel and was also catchingly commercial but really overtly so. A very eye-grabbing pin-up girl cover with a very trendy glitter/glam-dressed group on the inside were certainly commercial concessions, but musically the music was definitely more challenging and actually must've been quite a risky affair.

Right from the first second of the opener, we are hearing that Roxy is in a different world than most everything ever done before them, with those crazy Eno synths, Manzanera's Fuzz guitars, Mackay's inventive sax breaks, Ferry's good vocals (he was probably not yet fully aware of his crooner potentials). Roxy was clearly from another planet than GonG or any other usually frequented by progheads. But something was bound for these two universes (glam and prog) to collide, and Roxy was the one to do it - well they cheated as they use also some mellotrons, although sparingly.

Ladytron with its weird synths and psychey fuzz guitars but also its lenghty mellotron- laden intro, Re-make/Re-model's wailing sax (you'd swear this was Lol Coxhill blowing it), Eno's Fender Rhodes (Ratledge-like) tape loops on 2HB, Eno's synths and loops and Thompson's drum heavy rolls in The Bob, all these might make you think that this is an experimental album, but do not be mistaken, we are firmly in pop-rock domain here.

There are also some much less interesting tracks on the album as the semi-countryish If There Is Something, and the hit single Virginia Plain and the succession of shorter tracks on side 2 (tracks 6 to 10 - even if Sea Breezes has some charms that brings you back to the more adventurous spirits of side 1) until the aptly-titled closing track.

As much as this album is original, Roxy Music will better themselves with the following For Your Pleasure, until Eno will leave after it and much of RM's soul with him.

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Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What an album ! What a line-up ! Roxy's creativity at his best !

This album made quite a sensation in 1972 and the music produced here is rather avant- garde. It is a totally new sound. Two keys and a sax, also quite unusual for the time.

Bryan Ferry applied for a job as a singer with ... King Krimson around 1969 but was rejected! He will then meet Mackay and Eno, students at the Winchester School of Arts (section : contemporary music). The band's first name was Roxy, but it could have been Ritz or Plaza...It will finally stick on Roxy Music.

In an interview in the Melody Maker in August 1971, Ferry will tell : "We've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing, and we're determined to make it but in as civilised a way as possible. The average age of this band is about twenty-seven, and we're not interested in scuffling. If someone will invest some time and money in us, we'll be very good indeed."

A year after this rather premonitory interview, the band's first album was released on Island records, they were supporting act for Alice Cooper at Wembley, for Bowie at the Rainbow.

Their look related them closely with glam. He will say about some "colleagues" : "We're not a singles group really. I certainly don't want to find myself sliding down that Slade/T Rex corridor of horror".

The look of the band is rather provocative. Extravagant and ambiguous dressing to say the least.The very chic look from Ferry, contrasting with the androgynous Eno. In October 1972, Bryan will tell NME : " I'd like to have gone and done something in Holland and Belgium for a month. I see the album and the single are doing well over there. And I imagine we might score heavily in Paris . . . there being a certain chicness in our ensemble which the French would appreciate."

Dear friend Bryan is well aware of his look ...

Now, about the music.

"Re Make/ Re-Model" is a great opener : one can feel already the essence of the band. Strong rythm, great guitar from Phil. This track is really incredible. Each band player playing his bits of a solo, but still it is a great band effort. Competely disjointed.

"Ladytron" is a real catchy song. It is very bizarre during the first minute : weird sounds all around. As soon as Bryan enters the vocal scene, the flavour of Roxy for the years to come is alreday there. Great melody, croony style. It ends up into an intriguing mix of "noises" : a sort of end of the world (probably Eno's influence).

"If There Is Something" is a nice rock tune with lots of good piano. Mackay 's sax work is great. Lots of music. Not too many vocals (this will change over the years). These instrumental parts are so gorgeous. The finale is grandiose : an orgy of synths ! Bryan is already the singer he will be for the decades to come. Quite tortured in this number.

"Virginia Plain" will be their first hit single. Great pop tune. I am really found of this one and listening to it even more than thirty years after its discovery is still a pleasure. This track was not on the original vinyl album. The single will reach the fourth spot on the UK chart. What's Your Name ? Virginia Plain !

"2HB" closes side one of the vinyl album on a quiet mood. Finally, one can breathe a bit !

"The Bob" is quite exprimental and spacey at times. Quite complex track, this medley is like a short rock-opera with lots of tempo variations and scary moments. This is truely unheard by then. Is this the ancestor of "Bohemian Rapsody" or "One Night In Paris" ? Bryan's shaky voice here sounds a bit different than usual. This track has a very special flavour indeed.

"Chance Meeting" is not the strongest track on the album. A weird atmosphere again, piano oriented.

"Would You Believe" is a typical Roxy song in its first part: quiet & nice vocals with piano and sax for the intro, then it turns into a truely rock'n'roll piece (almost revival) and then back to the start. Another great song.

The longest number of the album "Sea Breezes" starts with ... a sea breeze. It is quite a slow and tranquil number for about four minutes, then the listener is brought into a rather cacophonic moment which finally ends with Bryan emotional voice. Not too bad.

The (too) short "Bitter's End" closes this disc in a wonderful manner : a quite retro tune with magnificant vocal harmonies.

B-side is somewhat weaker but I am profundely admirative of this first effort. It will peak at Nr. 10 in the UK chart. Completely original. Incredibly innovative. I will rate this album with five stars.

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Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I must back up a previous reviewer who recently submitted his thoughts on this LP - he has done a great job - 'Roxy Music' is a phenomenal album presenting the public with something that's seemingly accessible at first, but actually has a lot of revolutionary ideas and a sensational 'new' sound/style. Yes, they look 'glam', no they are NOT anything to do with that scene (musically speaking), and the song-writing is focused and to- the-point, with lots of abstract twists. From track 1, 'Re-Make - Re-Model' the overall vibe is set, a punchy track where at one point every member of the band gets a 'solo bar' to themselves. The sound of this song is superb and representative of what to expect throughout the LP, with ex-Crimsoner Pete Sinfield handling the production - Paul Thompson's drumming sounds really, really good on this album, and might I add, he has an uncanny resemblence to Ozzy Osbourne in the gatefold photo !!. They utilise many off-beat ideas throughout the compositions on this album - especially Eno's 'unconventional' use of the complex and cumbersome VCS 3 synthesizer, incredibly original.

This is an album that can impress both fans of the more accessible stylings of prog, and, truly hold the attention of complex prog lovers just the same. Granted that it came out during the year I was born, I surmise it made a large enough impact at the time of its release back then, and continues to unleash its influence these days, despite the commercial direction the band followed from the late 70's onward. A masterpiece.

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Posted Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is not my music.

I clearly understand, that this is not Prog Rock (not even enough for Prog Pop in my book), so I gave up all my inner moaning as for its complexness etc after the very first track. But the whole mood of the record and the way it’s played didn’t make jump for joy. I mean, this is very mediocre album, especially for 70s, when legendary albums were released every month! I can get the point behind it all (if there’s one) – it’s a kind of parody, but sorry, this is not funny. “If there’s something” and “Sea Breezes” have wonderful melodies, and this saves the album from being a total failure. Not recommended unless you’re Brian Ferry fan or enjoy faceless pseudo-intellectual Pop-Rock from 70s.

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Posted Thursday, August 02, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A work of art?

Roxy Music are primarily known as a singles band, having enjoyed great success in that market with what seemed at one time to be a never ending stream of hits. They were one of the major bands of glam rock, their image appearing at times to be as important to them as their music. The imagery can sometimes mean that the substance of the band is overlooked. Perhaps history has therefore been unfair to Roxy Music, as their early albums in particular demonstrate that there was often more to their music than "Do the strand" or "Dance away".

The line up here includes many highly gifted musicians, most of whom would go on to become highly respected luminaries both within prog, and in music as a whole. The roll call includes such names as Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, and Andy Mackay plus of course Bryan Ferry, all of whom were full band members of early Roxy Music. The signatures of the band are Ferry's unique, tremulant vocal style, and Brian Eno's synthesised processing of the guitars and wind instruments. All the compositions are credited to Brian Ferry, although the reality is clearly that the entire band were involved in the arrangment and development of the songs. The album was produced by Pete Sinfield, whose involvement appears to have been relatively low key, giving Eno all the flexibility and space he needed.

After the rather wandering introduction to the album with "Remake/Remodel", things slip quickly into gear with "Ladytron". If nothing else, the track serves as an early reminder of Roxy Music's prog influences. They may not have looked like a prog band, but they were quite prepared to draw from whatever sources were necessary at the time. The track has some wonderfully futuristic sounds, especially bearing in mind the album dates from 1972. Eno is clearly already experimenting with sounds and distortions causing the more traditional instruments to take on new forms of life.

"Is there something" starts off as a more orthodox blues rock song with twanging guitar and rudimentary piano, but develops nicely through some sax and oboe. The latter half has some good old fashioned mellotron sounds complementing emotional vocals. "2HB", which completes side one, is a downbeat, rather meandering affair which borders on the ambient.

Side two opens with "The Bob" (nice title!), a piece which is either extremely complex in structure or completely lacking in structure, depending on your perspective. It certainly changes style with admirable regularity, but the end result is a disjointed, unsatisfactory piece. "Chance meeting" slows things right down again, being essentially a piano and vocal piece with sundry guitar effects. "Would you believe" sounds at first like a drunken ballad, before the pace is suddenly lifted and an echoed straight rock'n'roll number pounds forth.

At 7 minutes, "Sea breezes" is the longest track on the album. The title is poetically appropriate, the track being mainly soft and peaceful. It's another rambling piece with little to make it memorable. The album closes with the brief "Bitters end", another soft, downbeat number with lounge bar sound effects.

As I have the original LP version, the superb single "Virginia plain" does not feature in the track listing, something which would be addressed once it had become a surprise hit.

Bearing in mind this album was recorded some 35 years ago (at time of writing), it is remarkably forward looking while paradoxically drawing in many retrospective influences. The unique sounds and styles it presents can be challenging even now. While the album does not really work for me as a whole, it does have its moments. There is no doubt that this is the album which put the Art into Art Rock.

Being the band's first album, it was also the first to feature a glamorous model in a seductive pose on the sleeve. Such images would become the trademark of the band's albums, and a familiar indication of the product.

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Posted Friday, August 10, 2007

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'm sorry that PA dropped the Art Rock label, since Roxy Music was definitly an art rock icon. In fact, that very name seemed to be invented to describe their music when their self titled album hit the stores (and then the charts) by the time it was released in 1972. It was simply too different and groundbreaking to be labeled as anything else. Their mix of rock, 50īs doo wop, avant guard, glam, pop sensiblities, classical, jazz and eletronic influences were quite unique, specially if you realize the music that came from it all was so harmonic and coherent.

From the very first track, with its clever, self explanatory title (Re-make,/Re-model) it was clear that those guys knew what they're doing: taking the pre-existent musical forms into newer shapes (this is art rock, after all, remember?). Bryan Ferry was the main man behind it all, writing all the songs and creating a great concept, but his bandmates were not far behind, specially the then unknown Eno with his primitive synthesizer and 'non musician' statement using tapes and recording machines as an integral part of their live sound (something unheard of at the time). Considering their youth and the fact that their previous recording experiences were almost nonexistent, it was quite a feat!

Progressive music? Yes! With a capital P! (please, again, don't compare them to symphonic prog bands. Roxy Music was prog , but not in Genesis or Yes molds) They were new trendersetters and, just like that, were right on time and conquered the hearts and minds of many rock fans (although their almost instant chart success did not endear them to many rock critics). And this album is surely their best, delivering some of their most famous classics: Ladytron, Sea Breezes, Chance Meeting and their greatest song ever: the epic schoolboy dream If There Is Something. The album was produced by famous King Crimson poet Peter Sinfield, who did quite a nice job. CD edition includes the non LP hit single Virginia Plain.

Of course this essemble was too good to last: the eventual clash of two rock genious Ferry and Eno would mean the leaving of the latter to other even more advancing projects by the time Roxy Music released its second LP. But they also left those two gems to rock history. And their debut was a classic, an essential masterpiece of prog music. Highly recommended. Roxy Music was a band that proved innovative music could also be melodic and accessible.

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Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
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

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Posted Monday, August 11, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Roxy Musicīs self-titled debut studio album was released in 1972. The album was recorded over the course of a single week and the recordings were financed by the groups managers because they didnīt have a record contract yet. The album was produced by Peter Sinfield ( King Crimson). The original LP release didnīt host any singles but a few weeks after signing their record contract Roxy Music recorded two songs for a single. Virginia Plain and The Numberer. That single was very successful and meant that the album got attention too. Most later pressings of the album include Virginia Plain.

The music is very eclectic and draws in elements from many different genres to make a rather unique sound. Thereīs a bit of progressive rock here ( mostly curtesy of Brian Enoīs synths), some fifties styled rockīnīroll elements and lots of commercial pop/ rock appeal too. There are some real party songs here in Re-Make/Re-Model and Would You Believe and itīs hard not to smile when listening to those. Not all songs are in this style though but I find it hard really to describe the way Roxy Music sound on this debut. Main composer and lead singer Bryan Ferry has a pretty strange voice and itīs surely an aquired taste if youīre gonna enjoy that one. Lots of vibrato. Thereīs also lots of sax in the music and a tight rythm section. My favorite moments on the album is when Brian Eno enters though. A song like Ladytron is just brilliant because of his synths.

The musicianship is excellent. A well playing band with lots of individualists. Donīt expect anything really challenging though. Itīs not that kind of music.

The production is professional and well sounding.

The music on Roxy Music isnīt exactly to my liking all the time and even though there are moments of brilliance itīs just not an album that really sticks in my head even after repeated listening. I acknowledge that itīs a highly influential album and that itīs a good album, but for me itīs a 3 star rating. No more, no less.

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Posted Sunday, February 01, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'd like to open with a quote from Mike Ohman from the GEPR site. "In 1972, when the first ROXY MUSIC album came out, it was unlike anything that came before.Ten years later, there were scads of different bands attempting to emulate ROXY's style, and often failing miserably at it. The first album introduced the sublime talents of Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy MacKay to an unsuspecting world. Eno was using his synth like no one else, not only as a lead instrument, but primarily as a sound processor, interacting with what the other members were doing. His presence is deeply felt on the debut, which also displays Ferry's highly stylized vocals". When I told tszirmay that I was going to review the debut album of his favourite band, he said "Just remember that it was released in 1972". Important advice and i'm still in disbelief that it was released so early in the seventies. This is highly original and innovative music, but it's also great music.

"Re-Make / Re-Model" opens with what sounds like a sample of cafeteria sound affects as tszirmay mentions. It then kicks in with piano, drums then vocals before the guitar rips it up. Sax joins in. Such a punk attitude here before the genre even existed. Love the vocal / sax interplay. This song's a blast, these guys are having too much fun. "Ladytron" is spacey to open then the aboe comes in. Vocals after a minute with mellotron. Bass and a steady beat follows as the song settles in. The guitar and sax are great after 2 1/2 minutes. "If There Is Something" is led by piano and vocals early and it has a country flavour to it. A change in style before 2 1/2 minutes and the vocals get passionate as Ferry sings "I would do anything for you, I would climb mountains, I would swim all the oceans blue". Love that part ! "Virginia Plain" is catchy and a whole lot of fun. "2HB" is a track that moves me, and has from the very first listen. It's Ferry's vocal delivery which is truly one of a kind. Later the drums sound so crisp as the bass throbs.

"The Bob (Medley)" opens with Eno doing his thing then the drums and vocals come crashing in. It settles after 1 1/2 minutes with aboe, piano and war samples. It turns uptempo after 3 minutes,the guitar that follows is excellent. The aboe is making all kinds of noise then it settles with piano and spoken words. Kicks back in. My God ! Ferry is brilliant ! "Chance Meeting" opens with fragile vocals and piano. Eno before a minute as it turns dissonant. The piano continues though then the vocals return.Themes are repeated. "Would You Believe ?" kicks in after a minute as the sax blasts away. Ferry follows suit. Guitar after 2 minutes followed by more sax. "Sea Breezes" opens with the sound of waves rolling in. The vocals come in reminding me of Fish during his MARILLION days. Aboe joins with paino. Guitar before 3 minutes as the waves continue. It changes completely after 3 1/2 minutes as drums, bass, vocals then guitar get loud. Back to the earlier sound before 6 1/2 minutes. "Bitter's End" is the final track and they're having fun again. I Iike the sax. Those cafeteria sounds are back as the album ends just like it began.

Well I agree whole-heartily with tszirmay and Tom Ozric's assessments. 5 stars !

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Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I started to listen to Roxy Music not from their debut album, and found it some years later. But than I realized, that it is a bit different and almost excellent in it's own manner! First of all, you can hear here a rare combination of Bryan Ferry melodic decadence and Brian Eno very early sound experiments with what in future will be named "ambient". With every next album Roxy Music just makes step toward Ferry direction, not as bad, bad losing their ambient and experimental component. This album is most "proggest" in RM discography, but even there the music is more art-rock, melodic, mid-tempo, beautifully textured. Very early Manzanera guitar sound as well. I think, this album is a golden classic of British art-rock ( what is something on the border with prog-rock), perfect example of beauty and innovation mix. After leaving RM, first Brian Eno (non ambient ) albums are recorded under very high influence of this album. I can recommend this album to everyone interested in beautiful and progressive music with art atmosphere and slight pop orientation. Strong 4,5!

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Posted Monday, November 30, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Let me start by saying that I'm a fan of art rock which might also explain my leaning towards eclectic and avant-garde music genres. To me Roxy Music is the best definition of the UK art rock scene of the 70's and this debut album has all the those element conveniently on display.

Most of you know Roxy Music as the backing band for Brian Ferry, but it wasn't always that way! This record also happened to start the career of Brian Eno, a man I admire a lot. By giving Ferry enough space for his vocals, letting Eno do his weird sound experiments and adding a pretty decent band to back it all up we get a very enjoyable combination!

The album starts with Re-Make/Re-Model which is probably the most recognized early Roxy Music hit and can easily be considered one of this debuts highlights together with other great tracks like Ladytron, Virginia Plain and If There Is Something. Sea Breezes is another great track that is worth mentioning because it's the best example of the crazy music experiments that Brian Eno was conducting at the time and the composition works really well as one of the albums closing statements.

This album might not be for the fans of Roxy Music's later albums but I personally never cared much for those releases anyway. Essential for fans of art rock and excellent addition for everyone else!

***** star songs: Re-Make/Re-Model (5:14) Virginia Plain (2:58)

**** star songs: Ladytron (4:26) If There Is Something (6:34) 2HB (4:30) Chance Meeting (3:08) Would You Believe (3:53) Sea Breezes (7:03) Bitter's End (2:03)

*** star songs: The Bob (5:48)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#261362) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars A wonderfully twisted take on the dominant musical scenes of the early 70s.

Roxy Music's self-titled debut album feels as much as a send-up as a tribute to glam rock, prog rock, rock'n'roll and raw, sluggish near proto-punk ideals. And out of this suave, stylish and idiosyncratic colour burst comes some truly magnificent music. Such unabashedly unapologetic flights of fancy and near limitless imagination make Roxy Music a force to be reckoned with right from the start.

The album is defined by a twisted muse where deconstruction and reconstruction play pivotal roles in reshaping and remodelling melodies, textures, rhythms and whole genres into something altogether new. Somewhat distanced, with a lovely attitude of laissez-faire and pure fun, it never comes across as either forced or sloppy, which one might expect. What the band does so well is adhering to often pretty simple underlying structures (in a relative sense) and still come across as bravely experimenting and rule-breaking, a feat that shouldn't be underestimated. The greatness shines most brightly in the friction. Speaking of that, there's also another surface of friction here - that between the more sleek and melodious songs (with pretty piano, Mellotron and easy-going guitar) and the wild, uncontrolled freak-out fests that I like best (sweaty, apocalyptic and primal efforts with icing of crazy inspiration).

Brian Eno's weird electronic experimentation and keys bubbles and soars, whether in the background or up front and more often than not they have their own life, but there's a more disciplined and tame side to his work as well, showcasing a great sense of melody. Phil Manzanera's guitar delivers sweet melodies as well as atonal wailing and is always delivering with a wonderful tension. The same can be said about the sturdier sounds of Andy Mackay's saxophone work. Bryan Ferry delivers the words in a crooning, warbling, high-strung way, guaranteed to drive some people away from the band at first, but an essential part of the experience.

Impressive as it is, the band will become even better on albums to come; playing tighter and a bit more interesting music, but nothing they've ever done beats this one in terms of joyful insanity.

To sum it up, the albums simply a wonderful, bubbling cauldron of post-modernist inspiration. If you want to hear something that slaughters the familiar while still paying homage to it, look no further.

4 stars.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#267430) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars I clearly remember my surprise upon hearing the early Roxy Music for the first time. Till that moment my knowledge of them did not extend beyond the despicable Flesh And Blood, an album that often boomed from my sister's room. So when I got to hear Viva!, it suddenly made sense. Roxy were just another of those other great early 70's band who lost their chops with the turn of the decade. At least that's what I thought back then.

Roxy's debut is an almost perfect bunch of experimental pop music where each member excelled at their gear. Especially Ferry for his weird affecting vocal mannerisms and Eno for being one of the first human beings to get anything meaningful out of a synth. Just like Richard Wright and the kraut rock pioneers he recognized the potential of synths as instruments for creating texture and ambience. Instead of going all macho on them and handling them as if it were guitars (also known as doing a Keith), he carefully avoided taking the spotlight and provides subtle touches and intriguing new sounds all over the place.

The songs are pop tunes in structure but prog in scope, originality and wilfulness. They are filled to the brim with innovating ideas, exceptional attention to details and a very arty vibe, mainly due to Ferry's theatrical vocals. The 10 tracks here offer an almost perfect ride, but I could have done without Would You Believe and Bitters End. Also The Bob sounds - as its subtitle suggests - like not much more of then a bunch of half-ideas pasted together.

Minor flaws aside, the 4 stars are fully deserved by its unique sound, strong character and exceptional song writing.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#272502) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars You know, I can't really remember when I've reviewed an album where there was such a disparity in how much I liked the first and second half of it. The first half of this album has got to be one of the most interesting, diverse, atmospheric, inventive and entertaining album halves I've ever come across, but the second half can only claim the "inventive" title of the first. It's really kinda startling the way it sorta seems that the group brain shut off so drastically, as if they ingested just one too many narcotic hits and fell off the creative knife blade they were walking. Mixed metaphors rock.

Anyway, the topic at immediate hand is the first side, which kicks off with sounds of party conversation for half a minute before a simple piano line abruptly breaks in and leads the band into "Re-make/Re-model," which starts off seemingly kind like a slightly generic rocker but soon brings in all sorts of cool guitar and synth and saxophone noises. Ferry manages to predict David Byrne half a decade in advance with his "Talk talk talk talk talk myself to death" line, the band works in the "give every member a brief moment to play alone" cliche in the most interesting way possible (*BZZZZZZEEEEEEEAAOOOOOOOOOOOTTTT*), and oh man those wild guitar and sax wailings over the 4/4 rhythm section are interesting. And they follow it with something almost completely different, "Ladytron," which has one of the best icy-cold atmospheres I've heard in forever (best synth+oboe combination ever), and which has Ferry alternating an amazingly sad (and untrivial) verse melody with a slightly upbeat chorus that doesn't sound at all out-of-place in context.

And then there's "If There is Something," which may very well be the most densely packed and varied 6-minute song in my whole collection. First, you think it's gonna be an upbeat country pop ballad ... then you think it's gonna be a downbeat country ballad ... then it morphs into this UNBELIEVABLY dark, moody thing with an incredible Ferry delivery about "growing potatoes by the scooooore" with this cold, stately atmosphere and a never- changing deathly drum beat and the moody sax solo to end all moody sax solos. And oh man, that has got to be one of the most perfect distant, echoey piano sounds imaginable. And it ends with Ferry coming back and wailing as only he can, the perfect crowning touch.

It's kinda hard to follow something like that, but the band does a decent job of it on the rest of the first side, both in the bizarre/straightforward "Virginia Plain (which apparently wasn't on the album originally, but instead was a single) and in the murky "2.H.B," with a cool moody verse melody, a great electric piano and some nice sax atmosphere. Unfortunately, though, the album goes off a cliff right about when "The Bob (Medley)" pops in. They're obviously trying to make a sort of counterpoint to "If There is Something," but the intermittent singing is so ugly and the atmosphere so unattractive and the instrumental parts so boring that I can't like it much at all.

And the rest? Meh. "Chance Meeting" and "Sea Breezes are moody," yes, but the first side had moods and tunes, whereas these songs just kinda sit there and refuse to grab me. "Would You Believe?" is a little nicer, as it's kinda warm and inviting (when it's not trying to break into their futuristic 50's-rock shtick, which would be done to perfection on "Editions of You" but is only sorta done well here, to my ears), and the closing "Bitters End" is too cute and inoffensive to be a source of scorn, but still, they don't really do much to redeem the last 20 minutes.

Overall, this is a tough album to rate, considering that I have to balance adoring the first half with feeling indifferent to (at best) and hating (at worst) the second half. Still, my love of this album is of a lot greater magnitude than my hate of this album (even if I really hate parts of this album a lot), so I guess it's a low **** instead of a high ***. Maybe. My advice is to buy it, but to just put the whole first side on a self-made Roxy Music compilation.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#280225) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars I first started collecting Roxy Music records because I enjoyed Phil Manzanera's work with Quiet Sun, 801 and his solo albums. While I can usually find something to like on their albums, they never got very high on my listening list. The main reason was Bryan Ferry. On the later albums he became a tolerable crooner, but here at the beginning, he was just plain bad. He overused an obnoxious tremolo in his voice, I presume, to cover up the fact that he couldn't hit a proper note. Thank heavens he didn't make it into King Crimson.

The music isn't totally bad. Eno added some cool synthesizers, Manzanera was a hot guitarist, even at this early stage and Andy MacKay played a mean saxophone. But that voice. AAaaaarrrrggghhh! Listen to later live versions of some of these songs to hear how much better they could be when sung properly.

Sorry. 2.5 stars, rouded down.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#400947) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It is, of course, the two Roxy Music albums featuring Brian Eno which are of particular interest to prog fans, and for good reason. The tension existing between Eno's eternally experimental approach and the slick, crooning glam rock stylings of Bryan Ferry creates not chaos, but a unique hybrid approach with plenty to offer. Suites such as The Bob, and Sea Breezes show the technical complexities the band could attain when they put their mind to it, whilst electrifying pop numbers like Remake/Remodel or Virginia Plain see the band members injecting fast, sharp jolts of technical wizardry and sudden, unexpected twists into warped pop formats. Easily the most prog-friendly of the three great glam rock releases of 1972 - the other two, of course, being Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and T. Rex's The Slider - Roxy Music's debut album is an essential reminder of a time when art rock could storm the charts.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#494275) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 01, 2011

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
4 stars Roxy Music blew my mind the first time I saw them when they performed 'Virginia Plain' on Top of the Pops back in 1972. Even from the perspective of early-seventies Glam they arrived like a sexually ambiguous whirlwind - all glitter eye-shadow and Teddy boy quiffs, vintage elegance and futuristic space-age costumes, the grotesque contortions of Bryan Ferry's aloof facies and Paul Thompson's leopard-skin clad caveman look. But they delighted in crossing musical frontiers as much as in cross-dressing; their blending of electronics, fashion and the visual arts with the seriousness of avant-garde and the vigour of pop virtually epitomised the Warholian notion of working in any media. Jazz, rock and roll, music hall and Broadway musicals were all woven together with electronic explorations to create music that was simultaneously primitive and innovative. It's easy to forget just how strange the sound was at the time and you really have to try to listen to 'Roxy Music' with 1972-ears to fully appreciate it.

'Virginia Plain', surely the bane of disc jockeys everywhere with its abrupt trousers-around- the-ankles ending, didn't actually appear on the original UK release of the album of course but appears as the fourth track on the CD version. New York was the place to be if you wanted to 'make the big time' and this song is like a little detour into The American Dream: 'Make me a deal and make it straight / All signed and sealed, I'll take it'. The song- title is a reference to a type of tobacco and was also the name of an early watercolour by Ferry, but the song concerns the Warhol Factory set, with references to Girl of the Year Jane Holzer, and ideas of class and the way in which the art world could 'open up exclusive doors'.

From this viewpoint it's interesting to note the importance of the whole Roxy Music presentation, from the nostalgia and sophistication of the music to the style of the band and the glamour of the album artwork. While Bryan Ferry didn't join King Crimson, his audition for the band was significant because it led to Roxy Music signing with EG Management and ultimately to them securing a recording contract with Island - Chris Blackwell of Island Records only sanctioned the deal after seeing the wonderfully erotic album cover. There can be few more beautiful album covers but 'Roxy Music' also has genuine musical value and the opening panache of 'Re-Make/Re-Model' was something of a declaration of intentions, a collision of past and future where rock and roll abandonment is enveloped by Eno's electronic evocations. And with the inclusion of short instrumental breaks hinting at the band's miscellaneous influences it's like an all-embracing romp through the recent musical past.

The strangely titled 'Ladytron' suggests a blending of eroticism and technology and this notion is reinforced by Ferry's automaton vibrato. The song's calm, mysterious intro features the slow dance of an oboe accompanied by the soft murmur of electronics and Mellotron in the distance. 'You've got me girl on the run around run around' ushers in cool castanets and warm bubbles of synthesized guitar, followed by a brief passage that recalls 'Telstar', and finally the delirium of a vibrating, shuddering outro that must have spawned a whole host of video game sound effects.

In spite of the band's concerns with style and futurism this is actually a very emotional album, an album of flesh and blood if you like. I've been prompted to write this review as a result of having seen the coming-of-age drama 'Flashbacks of a Fool' - a film that I recommend highly, especially to those among us who were in our teens in the seventies. I recently sat up till 1.30 in the morning watching the movie, the BBC's warning about 'scenes of a sexual nature and drug use' having had the desired effect of gaining my full and undivided attention. Anyone remember those red triangles from years ago? The film is a thoroughly enjoyable and nostalgic experience as long as scenes such as teenage boys giving it the old five knuckle shuffle on the ghost train don't shock you! In any case the film relies heavily on the song 'If There Is Something', my own reading of which has it as a journey through elation and depression, from the wet dreams of youth to the quiet reflections of old age. The song starts out optimistically as country-tinged rockabilly spliced with hip-boppin' Bolan boogie guitar licks, although the prime mover is Andy Mackay's extravagant sax solo. At first it sounds like a violin, during the torrid 'I would do anything for you' section, before going into fluid convulsions like a jitterbugging jellyfish. Finally it floats off into the stratosphere and it's only then that you notice the relentless rhythmic pattern underpinning it. Mellotron fades in after 'Shake your hair girl with your ponytail' and then Phil Manzanera tools up and chimes in, his guitar sounding like a Studebaker being gunned along the highway, before the song's poignant fade.

While 'Flashbacks of a Fool' was inspired by a Roxy Music song, '2HB' is a reference to film icon Humphrey Bogart and the movie 'Casablanca'. Musically the song is characterised by the rhythmic murmur of Ferry's electric piano and the lyric 'Here's looking at you kid' transmits Ferry's reverence of the actor and is as much an expression of his nostalgia as it is a line in the film.

The fragmentary nature of 'The Bob (Medley)' - the title being an acronym for Battle of Britain - makes it the album's most experimental piece and it was perhaps inspired by Ferry's early upbringing in the then war-ravaged industrial north-east.

'Chance Meeting' contains none of the warlike sound effects of the previous track but does nevertheless deal with the violent emotions of forbidden love. Inspired by the film 'Brief Encounter' - the main protagonists Alec and Laura feared chance meetings with friends - this fairly simple song is built around a sparse arrangement with Ferry accompanying himself on the piano. It's not long before the other instruments join in and any sense of melody is virtually abandoned. While Ferry continues to pour out his emotions at the keyboard, the guitar and sax (I think, it's hard to judge) wail and chatter like Dolly Messiter, oblivious to the inner turmoil of Alec and Laura as they are about to part forever.

Roxy Music's reliance on archaic devices is ably demonstrated by 'Would You Believe?', a song deeply rooted in fifties rock and roll and cabaret; its originality perhaps lies in its lack of eccentricity or strangeness. Or perhaps not.

'Sea Breezes' is a majestic, if peculiar, ballad of solitude and resignation: 'I've been thinking now for a long time / How to go my own separate way'. It undergoes a total change of character during its hesitant central passage with the rhythm section's irregular patterns. Apart from some intermittent oboe outbursts and chaotic guitar, in the style of Sterling Morrison, the bass and drums often provide the only backing to Ferry's intense vocal: 'Now that we are lonely / Life seems to get hard'.

The album finishes with the aptly titled 'Bitters End', a brief slice of doo-wop and a song that is so typical of Roxy's absurdist spirit.

Unlike so much prog music this album didn't seem like the second pressing of the grape. There's hee-haw I can do if you ignore this review but you really do owe it to yourself to at least give the album a listen. And check out 'Flashbacks of a Fool' while you're at it.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#535068) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars Way ahead of its time, personal and un-repeatable, Roxy Music's first release from the very beginning was out of tune, with their contemporaries, let them be musicians or the soon to be invented "Roxy" followers. The main virtue of this first effort stands in its up-front, daring and defying pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#895494) | Posted by admireArt | Saturday, January 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Roxy Music - 1972 (3.6/5) 12 ? Best Song: If There is Something Roxy Music began as a specialized, projected idea: Let's take hard glammy rock and make it smart! Which is exactly what they did. Any and everything you might have liked about David Bowie is present in the form. And everything ... (read more)

Report this review (#443575) | Posted by Alitare | Friday, May 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With the addition of Virginia Plain (the non-lp hit single), this first Roxy Music album is, by far, their best work ever. I love all of the tracks, especially Ladytron, Re-Make/Re-Model, Sea Breezes and 2HB. Totally glamour (Kari-Ann Moller, an ex girlfriend for Keith Richards) on the sleeve, i ... (read more)

Report this review (#164720) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a classic album from a time when classic albums came in on an almost daily basis. Having another listen recently though I feel there are some holes in the substance and therefore cannot give it the 5 stars I'd like to. There's more than enough magic to deserve 4 stars though and there ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#152922) | Posted by memark | Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first heard about Roxy Music from my dad who was a fan from the very first album; "Roxy Music". I first gave this a listen in my room out of curiousty. At the time I was a Brian Eno fan and my old man told me that the first two Roxy Music albums had Eno in them. I wasn' ... (read more)

Report this review (#124180) | Posted by Jake E. | Friday, June 01, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is a real milestone... with some fillers (and this preserves me from giving it five stars), but still a milestone. It demonstrates that progressive rock, back in the early 1970s, was a real "umbrella" genre, a tension shaking the whole universe of rock, in those years rapidly changi ... (read more)

Report this review (#117602) | Posted by paolo.beenees | Saturday, April 07, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 origin ... (read more)

Report this review (#39512) | Posted by Rob The Good | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The music Roxy Music makes is a weird combination and is very hard to describe. Brian Ferry sounds like a cabaret singer in a Berlin night club, from around 1930. His style of singing gives most songs a melancholic and decadent sound, bordering on glam-rock. On ROXY MUSIC this is combined with ... (read more)

Report this review (#39503) | Posted by harm s. | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first 5 songs are great, the other side is crap. That's the most accurate way for me to describe this album. Ok, so the first five song are the reason it gets 4 stars: "If There Is Something" is a classic, with a lot of soloing. A cool song. "Re-Make/Re-Model" establishes the sterotypical Rox ... (read more)

Report this review (#34009) | Posted by | Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an absolute trip! If you love it, it's probably a masterpiece, but it isn't exactly accessible at all. If you are a hardcore Eno fan, it's a must. If you are a hardcore Roxy or Ferry fan, same probably goes. Otherwise you have to really appreciate strangeness, creativity, and some plai ... (read more)

Report this review (#34005) | Posted by | Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A gem. A little poppy but really listen and it rewards with some complex themes and one of the greatest drum tracks of all time. This was Roxy at their most elemental and before Ferry got into lounge suit mode. Eno and Manzanera provide a surreal backing to the solidity and virtuoisity of the r ... (read more)

Report this review (#34002) | Posted by | Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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