Roxy Music - Roxy Music - Review
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critics' view

From out of nowhere in the summer of ’72 came the self-titled debut LP from Roxy Music – the new art-rock sound of now. At once, it managed to sound chic and futuristic, whilst retaining the raw charms of rock n roll past. Front-man Bryan Ferry said at the time:

“Most of the band have this approach of inspired amateurism, and as long as we retain that we’ll be alright”

Discussing the music, saxophonist Andy Mackay later said:

“we certainly didn't invent eclecticism but we did say and prove that rock n roll could accommodate – well, anything really”

Making the magic happen were: Bryan Ferry (26, vocals, piano, pianet, mellotron); Graham Simpson (28, bass guitar); Brian Eno (24, synthesizer, tape effects, backing vocals); Andy Mackay (25, oboe, saxophone, backing vocals); Phil Manzanera (21, electric guitar) and Paul Thompson (21, drums).

It’s fresh and exciting stuff in most places, although “Would You Believe?” fires an MOR warning shot on side 2. They have convinced long before that though; “Re-Make/Re-Model”, inspired by Derek Boshier’s 1962 painting Re-Think/Re-Entry, opens with the sound of a cocktail party and proceeds to herald the new wave boldly and bizarrely with an off-kilter beat which revels bizarrely in a chant of CPL5 93H, being the car registration plate of the girl he’d like to get to know. Straight away, we’re on the hunt together, and we’re rooting for our man. Our modern-day Casanova continues to be enraptured by the fairer half of our species on the other-worldly “Ladytron”, as Brian Eno’s modulations attempt to journey way beyond Bowie’s Mars attack. “If There Is Something” introduces the wholly unique wavering tremor from the lead singer; it’s clear there is character in abundance at play here.

The Art-Rock creativity of side 1 gives way to a more contemplative, proggy approach on side 2, which fails to excite quite as much. Best of the side appears at the very close as “Bitters End” finishes the set-off in a hitherto unheard style of 50s doo-wop, with the intriguing final line “should make the cognoscenti think” It leaves me thinking what was THAT and gets me reaching for the repeat button. The crafty devil…

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