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Roxy Music - Stranded CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

3.65 | 240 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Will you swoon, as I croon your serenade"

Released in the same year as "For your pleasure" (it was not unusual in the 1960's and 70's for bands to release two albums in the same year), this was the first album by Roxy Music to witness significant changes in the line up. Eno's departure was more than just the loss of a keyboard player, his futuristic experimentation went with him too. In came accomplished bassist John Gustaffson and violinist Eddie Jobson (who had replaced Daryl Way in Curved Air).

The band's successes in the singles chart lead to the realisation that a strong dance rhythm and an upbeat melody were the best tools for the job as far as success in that area is concerned. Thus "Street life", which introduces the album, was another indicator that the band were prepared to take the king's shilling. This leads to the album having a rather schizophrenic mix of pop singles and decidedly un-pop album tracks. "Amazonia" for example has a wonderfully eclectic structure with Eno-esque guitar effects and a cod reggae beat. "Psalm" is an unabashed religious song penned by Ferry. It builds nicely through 8 minutes from a very quiet start, to an understated but climactic ending, with a Welsh male voice choir accompanying Ferry's vocal. In view of the cynicism such songs tend to evoke, it is an astonishingly brave, but largely successful piece.

"Serenade" could have been another hit single, taking us back into the upbeat pop side of the band. Ferry gives the game away here with the lyric "Will you swoon as I croon your serenade", something he would do on an ever increasing basis both with Roxy Music and as a solo artist. "A song for Europe" is a surprisingly effective ballad with notable sax accompaniment. Perhaps unwisely, Ferry decides to unveil his linguistic skills on the song, rather spoiling the soloing. I think there's even a bit of Latin in there somewhere.

"Mother of pearl" is a strangely muddled number with varying tempo and a distinctly retro feel. In the latter half of its 7 minute running time it settles down into a more conventional Roxy Music standard. The intensely vocal nature of the track is indicative of Ferry's now unchallenged leadership of the band. "Sunset" makes for a fitting, if corny, end to the album. The song is effectively a solo Ferry piece, featuring just voice and piano.

In all, an enjoyable if somewhat uneven album. While the switching between pop rock songs and distinctly album only tracks can be unsettling, there is nothing particularly great or indeed awful about the individual songs.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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