Brian Eno left Roxy Music before Stranded was recorded, but still nominates it as his favourite album from the band. Without Eno’s synthesisers and sound processing, Stranded is more conventional than Roxy Music’s first two albums, but Ferry’s still the same intelligent, suave, and creepy vocalist, and Manzanera is still a creative guitarist, while new recruit Eddie Jobson helps the group fill out their sound with lushness.
Again, there are tantalising rockers – ‘Street Life’ starts the album confidently, while ‘Amazona’ is driven by Manzanera’s riffing. The centre-piece is ‘Mother of Pearl’, which starts off in overdrive before settling down into a beautiful piece driven by Ferry’s piano. There’s also eight minutes of God-rock on ‘Psalm’, where Ferry begins accompanied by organ; it’s a little draggy, and the most interesting part if trying to figure out whether Ferry is sincere. The lesser tracks are all strong, with tuneful and pretty songs like ‘Serenade’ and ‘Just Like You’, while ‘Sunset’ is an elegant and elegaic closer.
Even without the strong creative force of Brian Eno, Roxy Music have plenty of interesting ideas, and the lushness of Stranded is another triumph in their strong 1970’s catalogue.