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Roxy Music - Siren CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

3.67 | 205 ratings

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4 stars Bryan Ferry started out lampooning the suave and sophisticated image as lead singer of Roxy Music, but by the time 'Siren', the band's 5th studio album, came out, he was embracing it totally, and it was now his persona. This lounge style personality would also carry him through his solo projects. Taking advantage of this, Roxy Music moved to a more dance style sound, but still kept a level of complexity to their music.

Siren featured the classic lineup of the band with Ferry, long time guitarist Phil Manzanera, Eddie Jobson on keys and violin, Andy Mackay on sax, John Gustafson on bass, and Paul Thompson on drums. Many also consider Siren as being the pinnacle of the band's sound with their mix of sophisto-dance-prog rock. Even though the music after this album would definitely move to a more slick dance sound, this was were their sound was perfected.

'Love is the Drug' is the song that increased the band's popularity in America and they were able to find rabid fans quite quickly. The critics also loved the album, some putting it on their 'best of' lists for the year. Bryan Ferry had involvement in every track, however, the other members also were able to share in the credits in 5 of the 9 tracks, creating some nice levels of variety and sound. 'Sentimental Fool' leaned more to the new sound they were moving to, but did so quite cleverly, while 'Whirlwind' sounds more like a track from one of their previous albums. That mix kept the old fans around while new fans discovered their own pleasures in this unique style.

The elements that make the band so intriguing to me is Ferry's unique voice, the wavering tones that keep it Bowie-esque and sophisticated, yet so unabashedly loungy and cocky, showy and over-the-top at times, and the music moves so well around it creating layers of complexity around this art-pop sound. This music would go on to influence so many bands to come and still does, but just like the music, it wasn't an overnite sensation or a fad, but something that overtime influences a band here and another one there. But, at the same time, they took this sound themselves from Bowie and other British bands, but Roxy Music perfected it and make it 'sophisticated'.

Even after the growing success of the band and the accolades it was receiving, the band decided to disburse after the tour was over. Ferry, Manzanera, Jobson and others went on to either solo or other projects. But this breakup would only last for a few years and in 1978, the band would return with a slicker sound that would continue to attract the new and retain the old fans. Somehow, this change never messed up the reputation of the band and most fans made the transition willingly. Jobson and Gustafson wouldn't return with the band however as Jobson had found success with UK and other more experimental projects. We would be replaced with two keyboardists; Dave Skinner and the ever-popular Paul Carrack, who seems to pop up everywhere.

For those interested in discovering this band, this might be the best album to do it with. Then you can decide if you want more complexity and progressiveness, you can go backwards in time in their discography, or if you would rather go for the more art-pop, slick and rhythmic sound, then you can move forward in their discography from here. Either way, you will be rewarded with some amazing and unique music and will find music that is appealing to you. The position this album finds itself in makes it essential for both fans and newcomers alike, but also to lovers of progressive music as a standard for this style of sophisti-prog music. For everyone else, it is an excellent and important album for the band and for prog in general.

TCat | 4/5 |


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