Roxy Music reformed after a three year hiatus, with Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. Roxy Music Mark II is much more sleek and radio friendly than the first iteration, playing blue eyed soul songs with gentle disco beats. Thompson’s drumming is toned down and Manzanera’s guitar is much less aggressive, although Ferry’s croon is still majestic. The rough edges are smoothed out, and the result is effectively British Yacht Rock; it’s good, but it can’t help disappointing given their ground-breaking early work.
There is material to like; the slow building title track opens Manifesto nicely, while ‘Spin Me Round’ is a likeable closer. The hits were ‘Angel Eyes’, although versions of Manifesto vary between the original version and the disco oriented single re-recording, and the pretty ‘Dance Away’.
It’s difficult to rate Manifesto highly, given Roxy Music’s exhilarating earlier catalogue, but it’s a competent pop album nonetheless.