There was a lot of Progressive Rock around in the early to mid 1970s. This new form of Rock music divided some Rock fans as to whether or not it was decent enough to be heard with extended solos and the like. There was eventually a reaction which led up to Punk Rock.
Before Punk Rock, however, were some interesting bands to buck the Prog Rock trend, such as Roxy Music. This, their second album, is widely regarded today as a Rock classic, and is a very good listen. Let’s find out why this is so, and we will see how it fares against the Punk trend.
We kick off with Do The Strand which is marvelous and introduces Roxy Music’s musical template, which is basic Rock music with piano and saxophone. This is very catchy and enjoyable, and sounds really great. One can imagine generations of music lovers have and will enjoy tunes such as these from Roxy Music. Brilliant, and a great effort. There is a great mesh of instrumentation here, and the fact is that Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno do brilliantly here in particular. Really fantastic music from an era long gone by.
Next is Beauty Queen which begins with some surreal organ sounds, before launching into a slow Pop/Rock groove that is relaxing and enjoyable. This is not loud and trashy Rock music, this is clever and sophisticated music. It is highly influenced by Rock tradition, being evolutionary, not revolutionary. Fantastic to hear, and sounds top to this day. It has a tempo change during a wailing guitar solo, making this even more different than you’d expect. A great piece of music, so far, so good on this album. Bryan Ferry’s voice has a fluttering quality about it, similar to some female singers out there.
Strictly Confidential begins with some subtle saxophone, clever organ and melancholy sounding singing by Bryan Ferry. It is likely that he borrowed this sort of approach from a group like The Doors. Regardless of that, this is an awesome song and is very suspenseful. A genuinely good listen, and a nice mix of music and drama. An interesting and captivating listening experience.
Editions Of You begins with more interesting organ playing, before launching into a good radio ready sort of song. It is a top listening experience, and the drama, suspense and musicality will take you elsewhere. The horn section, keyboard and guitar solo will blow your mind here. This is a really amazing job, and super well done. There is a massive drumroll before the second set of verses kick in. The sounds here are really very good, and this is no doubt a huge influence on the rest of the 1970s. The outro is superb.
After that is In Every Dream Home A Heartache which is an excellent piece about (likely) western based cultural values of family and marriage that over time, fall apart. Melodramatic, but really great to hear, this is an interesting listening experience about a guy who buys an inflatable doll for…well, you get the idea. Pretty cool, and has a very 1970s second half, which is incredible music to hear. There is a Strawberry Fields Forever styled false ending surprise, keep an ear out for it. Great effort, the guitar at the end sounds like Jimi Hendrix.
Following is the extended piece The Bogus Man which is nearly 10 minutes long. It begins with some basic melodies, before stunning saxophone enters. It is an interesting listen, and rivals many different bands and genres of the time. This is what great music should do. There are some spacey Mellotron style sounds from Brian Eno, and the saxophone is just divine. It has many different solid gold sections of musicality that has not aged. A very good listen, and really fine quality musicianship from Roxy Music. There are some quacky Fender Stratocaster style sounds in the midsection, which are really cool and rare to hear in this format. This is not dull either, it is a great piece of wonderful musicianship and artistry. The soloing goes on for some time, and although at times seems like Progressive Rock, is far from it. If anything, Roxy Music seem to look back to The Velvet Underground musically here. Fun, funky and fresh. It gets very enjoyable towards the end, and is never tiresome musically. Catchy and enjoyable listening.
Grey Lagoons comes next, and has some nice musical touches about it, including female backing vocals. A really top listening experience, this is propelled by glorious piano and awesome lead guitar and saxophone breaks. A fresh, original and inspiring listen, this album has saxophone rivaling guitar for centre stage. There is some harmonica on this track too, which is really quite unusual. This should be heard if you can hear it. Awesome tunes on this recording, and this song is no different. Amazing and powerful musically, the outro is really great.
For Your Pleasure is the last track on this album, featuring some very precise drum rolls. It kicks into a piano driven ballad with the drum rolls continuing throughout. This is a slower piece that is nearly seven minutes long, and sings again about relationship issues. The vocals eventually take centrepiece here, and this sounds incredible. “Ta-raa” is sung in the background here, over the top of some interesting and unusual melodies. The drum rolls become more frenetic through this piece, leading a great deal of suspense throughout this track. Musically and historically relevant, Roxy Music really shine on this album. Many layers of instrumentation are on this track, particularly towards the end. Magical. The outro is really weird.
This is an excellent album, and particularly those who want to feel or are clever must have this in their collection. It is an awesome, sophisticated and classy listening experience. If you like stylish music, this should be a go to point for you.
Classy without being boring.