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Rock - Released March 23, 1973 | EG Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Stereophile: Record To Die For
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 /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Flesh + Blood suggested that Roxy Music were at the end of the line, but they regrouped and recorded the lovely Avalon, one of their finest albums. Certainly, the lush, elegant soundscapes of Avalon are far removed from the edgy avant-pop of their early records, yet it represents another landmark in their career. With its stylish, romantic washes of synthesizers and Bryan Ferry's elegant, seductive croon, Avalon simultaneously functioned as sophisticated make-out music for yuppies and as the maturation of synth pop. Ferry was never this romantic or seductive, either with Roxy or as a solo artist, and Avalon shimmers with elegance in both its music and its lyrics. "More Than This," "Take a Chance with Me," "While My Heart Is Still Beating," and the title track are immaculately crafted and subtle songs, where the shifting synthesizers and murmured vocals gradually reveal the melodies. It's a rich, textured album and a graceful way to end the band's career. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 24, 1975 | EG Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Abandoning the intoxicating blend of art rock and glam-pop that distinguished Stranded and Country Life, Roxy Music concentrate on Bryan Ferry's suave, charming crooner persona for the elegantly modern Siren. As the disco-fied opener "Love Is the Drug" makes clear, Roxy embrace dance and unabashed pop on Siren, weaving them into their sleek, arty sound. It does come at the expense of their artier inclinations, which is part of what distinguished Roxy, but the end result is captivating. Lacking the consistently amazing songs of its predecessor, Siren has a thematic consistency that works in its favor, and helps elevate its best songs -- "Sentimental Fool," "Both Ends Burning," "Just Another High" -- as well as the album itself into the realm of classics. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 15, 1974 | EG Records

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
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 /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1981 | EG Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A pioneering work for countless styles connected to electronics, ambience, and Third World music, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts expands on the fourth-world concepts of Hassell/Eno work with a whirlwind 45 minutes of worldbeat/funk-rock (with the combined talents of several percussionists and bassists, including Bill Laswell, Tim Wright, David van Tieghem, and Talking Heads' Chris Frantz) that's also heavy on the samples -- from radio talk-show hosts, Lebanese mountain singers, preachers, exorcism ceremonies, Muslim chanting, and Egyptian pop, among others. It's also light years away from the respectful, preservationist angles of previous generations' field recorders and folk song gatherers. The songs on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts present myriad elements from around the world in the same jumbled stew, without regard for race, creed, or color. As such, it's a tremendously prescient record for the future development of music during the 1980s and '90s. © TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1981 | EG Records

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
One might be forgiven for mistaking the Lounge Lizards' debut album for a traditional jazz release at a glance, what with the two Thelonious Monk covers and the participation of producer Teo Macero (who had previously worked with such heavyweights as Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Ella Fitzgerald, to name just a few). No, while there's definitely great respect shown here for the jazz tradition, the members are obviously coming at it from different backgrounds -- most especially guitarist Arto Lindsay, whose occasional atonal string scraping owes far more to his experience in New York City's no wave scene than to quote unquote traditional jazz. In fact, the two aforementioned Monk covers seem a strange choice when you actually hear the band, which has more in common with sonic experimentalists like Ornette Coleman or Sun Ra. That's not to say that this is too experimental; saxophonist and lead Lizard John Lurie knows when to blow noise and when to blow melody, and ex-Feelies drummer Anton Fier manages to infuse a good rock feel into the drum parts even when he's playing incredibly complex rhythms. The end result is a album that neatly straddle both worlds, whether it's the noir-ish "Incident on South Street," the art-funk of "Do the Wrong Thing," or the thrash-bebop found in "Wangling"." © Sean Carruthers /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | EG Records

Released to herald a reunion of the band and superseding several out-of-print predecessors, The Best of Roxy Music is an excellent summary of the group's hits and album highlights between 1972 and 1982. There are really two editions of Roxy Music, the glam rock unit that achieved widespread U.K. success from 1972 to 1975, and the more polished one that was a broader international success from 1979 to 1982. The compilers have dealt with the dichotomy and the more lasting popularity of the later recordings by presenting the compilation in reverse chronological order, so that soft rock hits like "Over You" and "Dance Away," which scored in America, come before U.K.-only hits like "Street Life" and "Virginia Plain," which rock much harder. But all the major hits are here (only a couple of less-successful British singles chart entries are missing), augmented by memorable album tracks like "Do the Strand" and "Mother of Pearl." In print or not, this is the best single-disc collection of Roxy Music, since it is more complete than earlier compilations like the 1977 Greatest Hits and 1983 The Atlantic Years (1973-1980) LPs, and, unlike later best-ofs such as Street Life: 20 Great Hits (1986), The Ultimate Collection (1988), and More Than This: The Best of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music (1995) (the latter two U.K. releases), it is not divided between Bryan Ferry solo tracks and Roxy Music ones. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | EG Records

When Slave to Love: The Best of the Ballads was released in 2000, there hadn't been a true Roxy Music compilation in print for years. Street Life and More Than This were both grab bags of Roxy Music singles and material from Bryan Ferry's solo career. While it's logical to assume that fans of one artist would certainly be interested in the other, the approach never made for a unified compilation -- Roxy Music's sound shifted quite a bit over the years, and their earlier, edgier singles never sat well next to the smooth balladeering of Ferry's companion career. However, Slave to Love is the first Ferry/Roxy grab bag to make internal sense, because it's thematically limited to the Roxy material that most resembles Ferry's crooning solo style. By the time of 1982's Avalon, the gap between the two had narrowed so much as to be virtually indistinguishable, and this compilation captures the elegantly romantic sound that came to be inextricably linked to Ferry. Slave to Love shouldn't be taken as comprehensive, even in this narrower vein (there are several excellent late-period Roxy Music singles missing), but as an encapsulation of one specific part of their appeal, it makes for a strong listen. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 16, 1972 | EG Records

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 /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | EG Records

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Rock - Released November 1, 1973 | EG Records

Without Brian Eno, Roxy Music immediately became less experimental, yet they remained adventurous, as Stranded illustrates. Under the direction of Bryan Ferry, Roxy moved toward relatively straightforward territory, adding greater layers of piano and heavy guitars. Even without the washes of Eno's synthesizers, Roxy's music remains unsettling on occasion, yet in this new incarnation, they favor more measured material, whether it's the reflective "A Song for Europe" or the shifting textures of "Psalm." Even the rockers, such as the surging "Street Life" and the segmented "Mother of Pearl," are distinguished by subtle songwriting that emphasizes both Ferry's tortured glamour and Roxy's increasingly impressive grasp of sonic detail. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 16, 1979 | EG Records

Returning to action after four years of solo projects, Roxy Music redefined its sound and agenda on Manifesto. More than ever, Roxy sounds like Bryan Ferry's backing band, as the group strips away its art rock influences, edits out the instrumental interludes in favor of concise pop songs, and adds layers of stylish disco rhythms. Although the songwriting is distressingly inconsistent, there are a number of wonderful moments on the record, particularly in the sighing "Angel Eyes" and the heartbroken "Dance Away." Still, trading sonic adventure for lush, accessible disco-pop isn't entirely satisfactory, even if it is momentarily seductive. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1986 | EG Records

The first compilation to attempt an all-encompassing overview of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music's career, Street Life was originally released in 1986, four years on from the band's break-up. And, across four sides of vinyl, it represented one of the most lovingly compiled tombstones any band could receive. Subsequent compilations have, of course, undermined it a little, but still it's difficult to criticize a collection that wraps up every significant hit single that the two parties enjoyed, from "Virginia Plain" and the oft-overlooked "Pyjamarama" through to "Jealous Guy" and "Avalon," via "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Slave to Love." The packaging is distinctive, with tempting stills from long-ago TV appearances mingling with all the relevant LP sleeves, and if you should ever be looking for a one-stop reminder of the combo's unerring brilliance, this is it. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 20, 1995 | EG Records

Album-rock artists like Roxy Music always make a difficult subject for comprehensive, multi-disc box sets. Frequently, their albums were designed as a cohesive whole and the idea of individual singles never really entered the picture at all. Roxy Music was slightly different than the average art/prog-rock band -- not only did they make albums, they also made singles. And that is one of the reasons why the four-disc set The Thrill of It All is successful. Roxy's songs stand as individual works, and they make sense outside of their original context, even if they make more sense within their original context. Thankfully, the majority of each of their major albums are reproduced on the first three discs of this collection, leaving the fourth disc for non-LP singles, remixes, and B-sides. Most of this material has not been available on CD before, making The Thrill of it All essential for collectors. Nevertheless, it's a helpful guide to Roxy's career for casual fans -- it contains all of the essential songs and shows why the group was one of the seminal bands of the '70s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1978 | EG Records

The debut album from amalgamated progsters John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson, and Allan Holdsworth has the edge over both Danger Money and Night After Night because of the synthesis of melody and rhythm that is inflicted through nearly every one of the eight tracks. While not as commercial sounding as Wetton's 1980s supergroup Asia, U.K. mustered up a progressive air by the use of intelligent keyboard and percussion interplay without sounding mainstream. Jobson's work with the electric violin and assorted synthesizers adds to an already profound astuteness carried by Wetton. Former Yes and Genesis drummer Bill Bruford is just as important behind the kit, making his presence felt on numbers like "Thirty Years" and "Nevermore." Without carrying the same rhythms or cadences through each song, U.K. implements some differentiation into their music, straying from the sometimes over-the-top musicianship that occurs with the gathering of such an elite bunch. The melodious finish of such tracks as "By the Light of Day" and "Alaska" showcases the overall fluency of each member, and shows no signs of any progressive tediousness that could have easily evolved. All three of U.K.'s albums are enjoyable, but the debut sports the most interest, since it spotlights their remarkable fit as a band for the first time. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 1, 1976 | EG Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | EG Records

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was one of those delightfully unclassifiable groups. Not really classical, not really jazz; sort of minimalist, and decidedly not new age (despite their usual classification), the PCO blended the first three of those ingredients into a quirky, beautiful, and timeless music that sounds like no one else. Lots of strings, piano, harmonium, bass, and ukuleles are the main instruments, and the music they produce is pretty, humorous, and utterly unique. Preludes, Airs & Yodels is a collection (one couldn't really use the term "Greatest Hits" for the PCO) that features many of their best-loved tunes like the "Penguin Cafe Single," "Air à Danser," and "Telephone and Rubber Band" (What? No "Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas?"). "Music for a Found Harmonium" actually appears three times: the original version by the PCO, a version by the traditional Irish band Patrick Street, and an electronicized version whipped up by pioneering electronica act the Orb. To be honest, the Orb remix doesn't really fit into the flow of the album all that well, but the point they make about the wide-ranging appeal of the group is well-taken (and it's easy enough to program out). The remastered sound is a marked improvement over their individual albums (as of 2004), and this compilation could serve as the perfect entry point for the curious. Once you hear it, you'll probably want to pick up the four-CD box, History, which contains the rest of their recordings along with various unreleased outtakes and live performances. This is great stuff. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1976 | EG Records

801 provided Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera with one of his most intriguing side projects. Although the band only played three gigs in August and September 1976, this album captures a night when everything fell right into place musically. That should only be expected with names like Eno and Simon Phillips in the lineup. (Still, the lesser-known players -- bassist Bill MacCormick, keyboardist Francis Monkman, and slide guitarist Lloyd Watson -- are in exemplary form, too.) The repertoire is boldly diverse, opening with "Lagrima," a crunchy solo guitar piece from Manzanera. Then the band undertakes a spacey but smoldering version of "Tomorrow Never Knows"; it's definitely among the cleverest of Beatles covers. Then it's on to crisp jazz-rock ("East of Asteroid"), atmospheric psych-pop ("Rongwrong"), and Eno's tape manipulation showcase, "Sombre Reptiles." And that's only the first five songs. The rest of the gig is no less audacious, with no less than three Eno songs -- including a frenetic "Baby's on Fire," "Third Uncle," and "Miss Shapiro"'s dense, syllable-packed verbal gymnastics. There's another unlikely cover of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," while Manzanera turns in another typically gutsy instrumental performance on "Diamond Head." This album marks probably one of the last times that Eno rocked out in such an unself-consciously fun fashion, but that's not the only reason to buy it: 801 Live is a cohesive document of an unlikely crew who had fun and took chances. Listeners will never know what else they might have done if their schedules had been less crowded, but this album's a good reminder. © Ralph Heibutzki /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1985 | EG Records

Roger Eno's first album continues in the vein of the songs he wrote for Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Using piano and broad washes of synths, some treated by older brother Brian Eno, the younger Eno's pieces are slow, contemplative works of minimalism, similar to Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies." Yet the composer he is most similar to on Voices is labelmate Harold Budd, who also paints from the same palette. Daniel Lanois's production simply balances these elements and gives them depth, adding violin to the final track almost as a taste for Eno's next album. © Ted Mills /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

Recorded live in France in 1982 but not released on CD in the U.S. until 1990, Heart Still Beating isn't quite in a class with Roxy Music's first live album, Viva, but nonetheless gives us a lot to be excited about. Lead singer Bryan Ferry and guitarist Phil Manzanera sound quite inspired much of the time, and Manzanera delivers some excellent solos. Longtime Roxy devotees will want to savor engaging versions of "Out of the Blue" and "Both Ends Burning" (both of which were heard on Viva), as well as such favorites as "Dance Away," "Avalon" and the clever "Love Is the Drug." Roxy comes closer to a mainstream rock sound on enjoyable interpretations of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" and John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," but even then, the distinctive band's quirky art-rock tendencies remain. © Alex Henderson /TiVo