7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2012
This debut album is a good as any, and laid down the foundations of art rock, with searing electric guitar, vibrato voiced clever lyrics, oboes and saxophones, and electronic noises and treatments not heard before , all mixed together, creating one of the most original sounds of popular music. This is Roxy Music at its raw, unpolished best, a complete juxtaposition to the more familiar slick West Coast sounds of their Eighties work. And its none the worse for that. Made with very little money Ferry wanted a definitive look and used his designer, and art friends, to come up with an album cover which looks more like an established bands cover, an arrogance born from confidence, seen by many at the time as pompous, but paved the way for the Roxy image we are now used to. You get a sense of the energy within the band, its eagerness to impress the Roxy Music style on the listener, the dam that is about to burst with creativity. The songs are constructed with little regard to convention, combining 50s rock and roll beats with heavy 70s guitar riffs, jazz influenced oboe twitterings, and Eno just starting to get to grips with electronics, tapes, and a very early synth, whilst trying to live produce the bands sound. Ferry starts his career on this album with lyrics which are cleverly put together, setting scenes, creating moods, cutting comments, wit, sadness, his journey to find his lusted after fame and fortune style, whether in Bel Air or on an English country estate, starts here. This band created their image, wrote their music and lyrics, and could all play exceptionally well, which is incomprehensible to the young x factor audience of today. They don't know what they are missing!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2012
Stunning first album from Roxy Music. There was never anything sounding quite like this before. So many interesting ideas merged together, in exuberant style. Certainly a contender for best debut album ever (Uncut magazine rated it 9th best of all time). Perhaps only the first Velvets album matches it for originality and enduring influence. Roxy Music re-making/re-modelling rock music - still sounds amazing 40 years on!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
form. 1999 having seen a major set of remodelled (but not remade) reissues of the band called Roxy Music. As the recent Early Years set suggests, early RM were the definitive art-rock band, a blend of the alien, with perhaps a dash of Soft Machine or the Velvets; but there was nothing like Roxy Music (c'mon, Bolan & Bowie were mods, then hippes)- looking at the inner sleeve pics, Ferry is a Sci-Fi Elvis, Phil Manzanera is a leather fly armed with an axe, while Eno is beyond cool: a venus in fur?
This eponymous debut comes not only with an improved sound quality, but the addition of debut single Virginia Plain (though sadly other non-LP track Pyjamarama failed to come on this edition, or the reissue of follow-up For Your Pleasure)- rumoured to be a mistake (as the greatest songs sometimes are- see Blue Monday)- the droning synths overwhelm the song as it overloads toward the end. Still sounds like the future to me, Ferry rattling through rococo, if beguiling lines: what's her name?
The remainder is the original debut, from sax-inflected Re-make/Re-model- whose repetition of a number plate finds an influence on later post-punk songs like Joy Division's Warsaw & Wire's 12XU. One of Andy Mackay's key performances (alongside Both Ends Burning) it takes us to one of the great Roxy songs, Ladytron. The first time I heard this was on a Whistle Test repeat (perhaps one of those rock around the clock things from the 80s- I recall Ladytron, Virgina Plain & a wild take of Do The Strand where the band all ended up choreographed in a pose John Travolta would become famous for later in the decade...)- the blend of the alien and melancholy is overwhelming in the opening lines "you've got me girl on the runaround-runaround/you've got me all about town/and it's getting me down-getting me down"- a major influence on Japan (along with...Both Ends Burning), it would even give moniker to an odd band of the moment. As with Virginia Plain, Ladytron seems to pass from Ferry's sublime popsong (after the atmospheric opening later borrowed for Japan's Oil On Canvas take of Ghosts) to Eno's soundscape- which to this day still sounds amazing (& was followed up on the next Roxy album, as well as the solo releases Here Come the Warm Jets & Another Green World).
If There is Something starts off a little country, which is odd, before charting off into alternate directions- as with The Bob (Medley) and closer Bitter's End, there seems to be so many possibilities, so many directions- which is why I'd place this album and it's next two follow-ups alongside albums by Can & Neu! than I would Bowie or T-Rex. The final parts of If There is Something("when we were young") are impossibly moving- in that vague artrock way! 2HB is a wild ode to Bogart, the music a definite influence on Radiohead's Morning Bell (the Kid A version); an argument that the music is a formative example of drum'n'bass is not discounted. It is notable that members of Radiohead and Suede would re-record some of these tracks for the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack (while Bowie covered If There Is Something on the second and worser Tin Machine album, while Siouxie&the Banshees did Sea Breezes on their 1987 covers album Through the Looking Glass).
Chance Meeting's opening precedes many a Kate Bush song, with its stripped piano and oh so individual voice- really, if people think Radiohead are weird doing similar material in 2000, perhaps music tastes can be defined as "retarded". Would You Believe? (nice to see the question mark) sounds like a tryout for Beauty Queen- the boogie-woogie piano the most traditional thing here: the most ostensibly glam track, that could be located to the universe of The Sweet et al. Sea Breezes is another early RM classic, Ferry a maudlin type- alone, alone, alone- the way the song builds and builds- the seven minutes fly by and never seem enough (something that can be said of many a Brit bands prog-tendancies in the early to mid 70s- Kevin Ayers & Robert Wyatt excepted). Bitter's End is an unusual conclusion, ending before it seems to have begun: Roxy Music remains one of the greatest debut albums- ranking easily alongside such releases as The Velvet Underground&Nico, Marquee Moon, Horses, Crocodiles & The Modern Dance. Along with For Your Pleasure, Stranded and Country Life it showcases the brilliance of Roxy, prior to the second wave which was notably more stylized and sadly the favourite of many a permed footy player in the late70s, early80s. Nice to see them recovering their early mindblowing material alongside playing songs like Dance Away, Avalon & Jealous Guy. A key 70s album and one that no home should be without!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was recently reading the sleeve notes of the remastered version of Wire's classic debut album Pink Flag which (for me, rather fancifully) claimed that (along with the Velvet Underground - more justified) these two bands had been the most successful at fusing art and rock. In my view, perhaps a more justified band to share the 'podium' with the Velvets would have been Roxy Music, and in particular the band in the (musical) incarnation they portrayed on this most innovative of debut albums. As it happens, I have always regarded the follow-up, For Your Pleasure, as the band's ultimate masterpiece - for me, whilst Virginia Plain - included on the US version - Re-make Re-model, Ladytron and Sea Breezes might get close, there is nothing on this debut to match the likes of Beauty Queen, Editions Of You, In Every Dream Home A Heartache or Grey Lagoons from the later album. That said, this debut, on which the influence of Eno is at its greatest, is still an outstandingly creative piece of work.
It is probably not appropriate to describe anything on Roxy's debut as 'conventional', but we probably get closest on Ferry's dedication to Humphrey Bogart, 2 H.B., on which Washington's (that's the Geordie one) finest sounds at his most sultry, on Chance Meeting, which continues the cinematic theme, the song being inspired by the David Lean film Brief Encounter, and finally on the superb doo-wop-inspired Bitter's End, whose angostura-linked theme provides a nicely poignant (and ironic) close to the album.
At the other musical extreme we have three mini-epic, multi-sectioned songs. For me, probably the least successful of the three is The Bob, whose Battle of Britain theme (sound effects and all) is enhanced by some typically eccentric playing from Eno and Andy Mackay. If There Is Something also provides a whole plethora of musical styles (from country, honky tonk to power ballad) seamlessly transitioned, and overlaid with some superb Mackay sax and a heartfelt slice of Ferry vibrato in the song's concluding instrumental exposition. At seven minutes duration, Sea Breezes is, for me, the album's piece de resistance, with a sublime Ferry vocal, Mackay's oboe and wafting wave sounds bookending a middle section of extemporisation by Messrs. Eno, Mackay, Manzanera and Thompson (with the latter's drums unusually to the fore).
Otherwise, we have, of course, the classic rocking Re-make Re-model on which Ferry romantically yearns for the driver of registration CPL 593H, accompanied by Eno's extravagant pyrotechnics, the superb Mackay oboe solo (plus Manzanera's guitar) on the similarly romantic Ladytron, the excellent Would You Believe? on which Ferry's delightful falsetto crooning is followed by a full-on (should that be glam?) rocker, and finally the aforesaid Virginia Plain, one of the band's absolute finest and peppered with some of Ferry's most witty, poetic and referential lyrics.
A must-have album.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2000
Roxy Music's debut was a fresh breath of bizzare air when released in 1972. Opening with the stunning Re-Make/Re-Model, it doesn't disappoint. The combination of Bryan Ferry's ice-cool vocals and Brian Eno's synths enthralled the record buying public, and the inclusion of Virginia Plain on the current re-issue justifies its importance. Sea Breezes combines power and heart felt emotion before striking into a world of avant-garde sound. Weird and wonderful, the musical content is never po-faced. Key tracks are "If there is something" and "2HB". Utterly indispensible !
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2009
This is undoubtedly my favourite album of all. It is not just the best Roxy Music album, it is in fact, the best album ever created. I have a huge collection of music - but this is the the cream of the cream.
The first two tracks - Remake/Remodel and Ladytron are superb and are undoubtedly the most commercial tracks on the album - except perhaps Bitters End. Everything in the middle is a wonderful bizarre collection of moulded sounds with the saxophone duelling with the Moog synthesiser and a really stinging guitar. The drumming is powerful and entirely appropriate to all tracks. The vocals are languid, cajoling, threatening and passionate. The whole thing is a powerhouse of sound, all summoned up at the fingertips of Bryan Ferry. Apparently, he "wrote all songs". How the devil could be write all of this - including all the soaring sax sounds and the weird and wonderful moog ministrations. Surely the other band members must have put in their own ideas. Surely Eno , must have created his own revolutionary sound patterns. How could Bryan Ferry do all of this, and how could he become so bland and "Lounge lizard" two or three albums further on? Why did he turn to disco when he was in a league of his own with the first three or four Roxy albums.
Anyway, whatever happened to him later on, there was no sign of it whatsoever at this stage. I suppose that we should just be thankful that from the outset Bryan Ferry was a total genius. He must just have used up the main part of his genius in the first four albums. This is a wonderful wonderful album and superb sound experience. I can't recommend it highly enough!!
And finally, to the person who only gave it two or three stars - Van Gogh must have cut your ears off!
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2004
When this album was originally released in the March of 1972 there wasn't anything else like it around with its use 50's do-wop and sci-fi themes, it had created a whole new genre on it's own, "glam rock" with content.
Unlike the others bands at the time that claimed to be glam these guys were, 2 of the members of the band looked like an "Elvis" that fell to earth, "Andy Mackay" and "Bryan Ferry" who at the time were both sporting quiffs with mullets, "Eno" wore make-up and wore strange attire and the guitar hero of the band "Phil Manzanera" looked it a giant insect from an old 50's b-movie on the artwork that was the centre of fold-out cover of the original vinyl release, this cover was recreated faithfully on the mini-Lp version of this album that came out (August 1999) a few weeks before this jewel case version. The mini Lp version also used the same track listing that did not have the first single on it. When this album came out originally it didn't have "Virginia Plain" on it, the only way to get that track on this album originally was to buy the "American" version of the vinyl record.
As the album starts you hear what is best described as a cocktail bar as the music thunders into life "Re-make/Remodel" still sounds like one of the best introduction to any debut album of the time.
I think the thing that made this album was the influence of the non-musician in the band "Eno" who approached things from a non-musical direction made all the difference to the overall sound of the whole album with his use of keyboards and the electronic treatments that where available at the time.
Now in this incarnation of the album not only has the sound been up-graded to HDCD standard (as had the mini-Lp version), the track "Virginia Plain" has now been included that now brings together all the tracks from 1972, except the b-side of the single which was called "The Numberer" which at the moment is only available on the box set "The Thrill of it all".
If you haven't entered the world of 70's glam before this or the music of "David Bowie" and "Marc Bolan" of the same time period is the place to start to get a feel of the time, this album is history in a can...
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2007
You can read loads of thoughts about this iconic album in the other reviews. Over 35 years later, the innovative mixture of textures and song constructs still makes this album stand apart. The new insertion of Virginia Plain as Track 4, where it featured on the original US version of the album, does jar the familiarity, but overall it is a welcome addition. The addition of the B-side, 'The Numberer' would have been nice too - maybe next time please?
What you need to know that the other reviews don't mention is the much improved sound quality on this CD compared to the original LP. I don't know what it was about the original LP, (the cut, the production, the engineering, the studio?) but it always sounded sonically thin to me, as though it had been recorded in a cardboard box. I note that King Crimson's Larks Tongue in Aspic was also recorded at the Command Studios in London and that sounded muffled to me too. No wonder perhaps, that the studio, which was rumoured to have a number of technical faults, closed down a year later. Anyway, within the likely limitations of the original tapes, this remaster is much improved and polishes this diamond very nicely.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2014
I love every single song on Roxy's first album but I'm docking a star for the daft decision to stick 'Virginia Plain' in the middle of Side One. Yes, I know that's being anally retentive in the extreme but it was never meant to be there. Extra tracks should be put at the end, not randomly bunged into the middle, corrupting the integrity of the original album.
Totally aware of how geeky this sounds so I will stop now.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2011
And so it begins...this was the first of the Roxy Music magic...this is considered by many the first and the best of the Roxy cannon...and yet it is an introduction to a new and exciting world where nothing sounds familiar and the glamour stands along side the magic that is Roxy...not a duff track on this classic of albums...sit back enjoy and move on to the next installment that is For Your Pleasure...