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Roxy Music

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

Roxy Music Album Reviews

Roxy Music were formed in 1971 by vocalist and keyboardist Bryan Ferry who, along with several of his band-mates, came from the same English art school background as The Who and The Rolling Stones. Accordingly, Roxy Music always felt conceptual – they were purposefully experimental, decadent, and futuristic, and there was always a deliberate visual element to their image. The band’s successful integration of synthesisers and electronic treatments into their sound, and Ferry’s detached vocals, made them ahead of their time and extremely influential. The group started their career in the era of glam rock, but like the genre’s other most enduring figure, David Bowie, they covered a lot of other territory during their career.

Along with Ferry’s unsettling lounge-lizard croon, the other constant members of Roxy Music were Andy Mackay on oboe and saxophone and Phil Manzanera on guitar; both collaborated with Ferry on writing material. Powerful drummer Paul Thompson was also a constant during the band’s 1970’s tenure, while the group went through a succession of bass players. Most idiosyncratic of all was Brian Eno, who played synthesizer and “treated” the other member’s instruments through his equipment. Eno only lasted two albums before he struck out for a distinguished career as a producer and solo artist. He was replaced by Eddie Jobson, who did a good job of filling Roxy Music’s sound out on their lush mid-seventies albums with his violin and keyboard parts.

The band’s two albums with Eno – 1972’s self-titled debut and 1973’s For Your Pleasure – are their most experimental, although, apart from the difficult second side of the debut, they’re still largely song-based and hardly inaccessible. The experimental edge mostly came from Eno’s textures and Ferry’s weird croon, although the racy cover photos and boundary-pushing lyrics like 1973’s inflatable doll epic ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ also contributed. Brian Eno singles out 1973’s Stranded, recorded after he left the group, as their high point, and their immediate post-Eno albums are still adventurous, but also lush and gorgeous. The group went on a three year hiatus after 1975’s Siren, but regrouped for 1979’s Manifesto. The group’s first two reunion albums are often disappointingly unimaginative, but 1982’s Avalon is a sleek and dignified swansong.

Roxy Music should be remembered as one of the key bands of the 1970s, balancing accessibility and experimentation, and releasing a string of excellent albums during their initial tenure. Their propensity for slow tempos can irritate some listeners, but I enjoy their rich textures and experimental spirit.

Ten Favourite Roxy Music Songs

Mother of Pearl
The Thrill Of It All
Remake/Remodel
In Every Dream Home a Heartache
More Than This
Sentimental Fool
Virginia Plain
If There Is Something
Street Life
Casanova

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Roxy Music 1972 Debut Album

Roxy Music – Roxy Music

1972, 7.5/10. Their debut is Roxy Music’s most difficult and experiment effort, but it features a brilliant first side.

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

For Your Pleasure – Roxy Music

1973, 9/10. Roxy Music’s quintessential album, with its atmosphere of sleek European glamour and decadence.

Roxy Music Stranded

Stranded – Roxy Music

1973, 8.5/10. Even without Brian Eno, the lush Stranded is another triumph in Roxy Music’s strong 1970’s catalogue.

Roxy Music Country Life

Country Life – Roxy Music

1974, 9/10. Country Life is the last stand of the glam-rock Roxy Music; on 1975’s Siren, they would explore dance beats

Roxy Music Siren

Siren – Roxy Music

1975, 8.5/10. Bryan Ferry dwells on clichés of cocktail bars and broken hearts on Siren, but the music is still lush and sophisticated.

Roxy Music Manifesto

Manifesto – Roxy Music

1979, 6/10. It’s difficult to rate Manifesto highly, given Roxy Music’s exhilarating earlier catalogue, when it’s merely competent dance pop.

Roxy Music Flesh + Blood

Flesh + Blood – Roxy Music

1980, 5.5/10. Roxy Music’s weakest album, but Flesh and Blood’s three strong singles make it worth salvaging.

Roxy Music Avalon

Avalon – Roxy Music

1982, 7.5/10. The beautiful, languid Avalon is a surprisingly fulfilling final chapter in Roxy Music’s story.

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