Roxy Music – Country Life (1974)

AllMusic Review: Continuing with the stylistic developments of Stranded, Country Life finds Roxy Music at the peak of their powers, alternating between majestic, unsettling art rock and glamorous, elegant pop/rock. At their best, Roxy combine these two extremes, like on the exhilarating opener “The Thrill of It All,” but Country Life benefits considerably from the ebb and flow of the group’s two extremes, since it showcases their deft instrumental execution and their textured, enthralling songwriting. And, in many ways, Country Life offers the greatest and most consistent set of Roxy Music songs, illustrating their startling depth. From the sleek rock of “All I Want Is You” and “Prairie Rose” to the elegant, string-laced pop of “A Really Good Time,” Country Life is filled with thrilling songs, and Roxy Music rarely sounded as invigorating as they do here. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

All tracks are written by Bryan Ferry, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “The Thrill of It All” 6:24
2. “Three and Nine” (Ferry, Andy Mackay) 4:04
3. “All I Want Is You” 2:53
4. “Out of the Blue” (Ferry, Phil Manzanera) 4:46
5. “If It Takes All Night” 3:12
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Bitter-Sweet” (Ferry, Mackay) 4:50
2. “Triptych” 3:09
3. “Casanova” 3:27
4. “A Really Good Time” 3:45
5. “Prairie Rose” (Ferry, Manzanera) 5:12

 

 

Schill Score: 8.25/10

 

 

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Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure (1973)

AllMusic Review: On Roxy Music’s debut, the tensions between Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry propelled their music to great, unexpected heights, and for most of the group’s second album, For Your Pleasure, the band equals, if not surpasses, those expectations. However, there are a handful of moments where those tensions become unbearable, as when Eno wants to move toward texture and Ferry wants to stay in more conventional rock territory; the nine-minute “The Bogus Man” captures such creative tensions perfectly, and it’s easy to see why Eno left the group after the album was completed. Still, those differences result in yet another extraordinary record from Roxy Music, one that demonstrates even more clearly than the debut how avant-garde ideas can flourish in a pop setting. This is especially evident in the driving singles “Do the Strand” and “Editions of You,” which pulsate with raw energy and jarring melodic structures. Roxy also illuminate the slower numbers, such as the eerie “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” with atonal, shimmering synthesizers, textures that were unexpected and innovative at the time of its release. Similarly, all of For Your Pleasure walks the tightrope between the experimental and the accessible, creating a new vocabulary for rock bands, and one that was exploited heavily in the ensuing decade. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Do the Strand” 4:04
2. Beauty Queen 4:41
3. “Strictly Confidential” 3:48
4. “Editions of You” 3:51
5. “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” 5:29
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “The Bogus Man” 9:20
2. “Grey Lagoons” 4:13
3. “For Your Pleasure” 6:51

 

Schill Score:   7/10

 

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Roxy Music – Roxy Music (1972)

AllMusic Review: Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music’s eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock’s boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures. Although no musician demonstrates much technical skill at this point, they are driven by boundless imagination — Brian Eno’s synthesized “treatments” exploit electronic instruments as electronics, instead of trying to shoehorn them into conventional acoustic patterns. Similarly, Bryan Ferry finds that his vampiric croon is at its most effective when it twists conventional melodies, Phil Manzanera’s guitar is terse and unpredictable, while Andy Mackay’s saxophone subverts rock & roll clichés by alternating R&B honking with atonal flourishes. But what makes Roxy Music such a confident, astonishing debut is how these primitive avant-garde tendencies are married to full-fledged songs, whether it’s the free-form, structure-bending “Re-Make/Re-Model” or the sleek glam of “Virginia Plain,” the debut single added to later editions of the album. That was the trick that elevated Roxy Music from an art school project to the most adventurous rock band of the early ’70s. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Re-Make/Re-Model” 5:10
2. “Ladytron” 4:21
3. “If There Is Something” 6:33
4. “2HB” 4:34
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “The Bob (Medley)” 5:48
2. “Chance Meeting” 3:00
3. “Would You Believe?” 3:47
4. “Sea Breezes” 7:00
5. “Bitters End” 2:02

 

Schill Score:  9/10

 

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