New Musical Express MARCH 24, 1973 - by Charles Shaar Murray


Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure

There are a large number of people in the music business who would be delighted to hear that Roxy Music had blown it. Their sudden rise to prominence offended many people who believe in dues-paying as the only acceptable prelude to success. That the Roxy personnel had all paid their dues in other fields is a fact often ignored by the band's detractors. And indeed, if their second album had been a bummer, then all the hopes of the anti-Roxy brigade would have been fulfilled.

Happy to state, they gonna have to close down operations for some little while because the new Roxy album is here, and it's a staggeringly fine piece of work, easily outstripping the first album: For Your Pleasure it's called, and damn if it ain't just that. Basically, it's a broadening of scope and an extension of what has gone before. It's not simply a new set of songs in the same style, and it's not what musicians like to call a change of direction. It's a new Roxy Music record, with all that implies.

When Roxy first burst upon our collective ears, it seemed to be a simple case of futuristic nostalgia; a boppin' high school hop band of the future, a twenty-first century rock revival band. But then it became clear that Bryan Ferry and his merry mutant buddies weren't gonna play like that just because a bunch of critics said that that was what they were doing. And a new element became clear: Ferry was basically adapting the persona of some debonair lounge lizard out of a '30s Hollywood movie, rock's Leslie Howard or something. And it wasn't even that simple.

So here's a clearer Roxy. There's a dance craze song Do The Strand but, despite the remorseless hard rock sound, Ferry sounds more like he's ordering tea and passing the aspidistra, while Eno has his fun in the background and Andy Mackay plays his favourite King Curtis licks. There's the mournful Beauty Queen which fulfils the same function on this album as Ladytron did on the first one; Strictly Confidential which would really blow some minds on Housewives' Choice; Editions Of You which is lovely hard rock, and the thoroughly strange In Every Dream Home A Heartache, a touching little song about mail-ordering an inflatable rubber woman. Bee-zar!! It ends with a slightly modulated ring and leaves your sound system emitting small plumes of smoke. Fun and jollity time is definitely over.

Side Two is a gruelling and disquieting experience along the lines of The Man Who Sold The World: Bogus Man is Roxy's Midnight Rambler, a long, funky workout which should leave you in a state of trembling paranoia. Grey Lagoons gives you just enough time to get your head reassembled for the title song which ends with some amazing Eno-ing, and leaves you with the tailwind of passing asteroids buffeting your ears. Later for in-depth analysis. The point is that here is another Roxy Music album, and it's better than anybody could have dared hope.

You need this album, and it's a long time since I've wanted to say that about anything. Oh no - it's my pleasure.