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Roxy Music - Roxy Music CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

4.05 | 279 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars You know, I can't really remember when I've reviewed an album where there was such a disparity in how much I liked the first and second half of it. The first half of this album has got to be one of the most interesting, diverse, atmospheric, inventive and entertaining album halves I've ever come across, but the second half can only claim the "inventive" title of the first. It's really kinda startling the way it sorta seems that the group brain shut off so drastically, as if they ingested just one too many narcotic hits and fell off the creative knife blade they were walking. Mixed metaphors rock.

Anyway, the topic at immediate hand is the first side, which kicks off with sounds of party conversation for half a minute before a simple piano line abruptly breaks in and leads the band into "Re-make/Re-model," which starts off seemingly kind like a slightly generic rocker but soon brings in all sorts of cool guitar and synth and saxophone noises. Ferry manages to predict David Byrne half a decade in advance with his "Talk talk talk talk talk myself to death" line, the band works in the "give every member a brief moment to play alone" cliche in the most interesting way possible (*BZZZZZZEEEEEEEAAOOOOOOOOOOOTTTT*), and oh man those wild guitar and sax wailings over the 4/4 rhythm section are interesting. And they follow it with something almost completely different, "Ladytron," which has one of the best icy-cold atmospheres I've heard in forever (best synth+oboe combination ever), and which has Ferry alternating an amazingly sad (and untrivial) verse melody with a slightly upbeat chorus that doesn't sound at all out-of-place in context.

And then there's "If There is Something," which may very well be the most densely packed and varied 6-minute song in my whole collection. First, you think it's gonna be an upbeat country pop ballad ... then you think it's gonna be a downbeat country ballad ... then it morphs into this UNBELIEVABLY dark, moody thing with an incredible Ferry delivery about "growing potatoes by the scooooore" with this cold, stately atmosphere and a never- changing deathly drum beat and the moody sax solo to end all moody sax solos. And oh man, that has got to be one of the most perfect distant, echoey piano sounds imaginable. And it ends with Ferry coming back and wailing as only he can, the perfect crowning touch.

It's kinda hard to follow something like that, but the band does a decent job of it on the rest of the first side, both in the bizarre/straightforward "Virginia Plain (which apparently wasn't on the album originally, but instead was a single) and in the murky "2.H.B," with a cool moody verse melody, a great electric piano and some nice sax atmosphere. Unfortunately, though, the album goes off a cliff right about when "The Bob (Medley)" pops in. They're obviously trying to make a sort of counterpoint to "If There is Something," but the intermittent singing is so ugly and the atmosphere so unattractive and the instrumental parts so boring that I can't like it much at all.

And the rest? Meh. "Chance Meeting" and "Sea Breezes are moody," yes, but the first side had moods and tunes, whereas these songs just kinda sit there and refuse to grab me. "Would You Believe?" is a little nicer, as it's kinda warm and inviting (when it's not trying to break into their futuristic 50's-rock shtick, which would be done to perfection on "Editions of You" but is only sorta done well here, to my ears), and the closing "Bitters End" is too cute and inoffensive to be a source of scorn, but still, they don't really do much to redeem the last 20 minutes.

Overall, this is a tough album to rate, considering that I have to balance adoring the first half with feeling indifferent to (at best) and hating (at worst) the second half. Still, my love of this album is of a lot greater magnitude than my hate of this album (even if I really hate parts of this album a lot), so I guess it's a low **** instead of a high ***. Maybe. My advice is to buy it, but to just put the whole first side on a self-made Roxy Music compilation.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |


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