Friday, March 8, 2019

Roxy Music 2: For Your Pleasure

Even when you’re trying to stand out from a multicolored crowd, it’s important not to shake things up too much. Bryan Ferry knew that, so most of the elements that made Roxy Music’s debut so startling are still in place on For Your Pleasure, right down to the model on the cover and the band’s own poses in the gatefold.
A terrific opener, “Do The Strand” exhorts the listener to try the latest dance craze for a variety of bizarre reasons, the most compelling being that “rhododendron is a nice flower.” If you think “Beauty Queen” has a menacing undercurrent, you ain’t heard nothing yet, especially since it evens out once the song proper starts. Plus, that cool double-time section is lotsa fun (cute reference to “sea breezes” too). “Strictly Confidential” also seesaws between drama and lilting falsetto, dragging things somewhat. Luckily, “Editions Of You” revives the better moments of the first album, ponding away at the riff with Eno finally getting a chance to unleash his beeps and whoops. It provides something of a sorbet before the debauched horror of “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”, wherein the ladies’ man expresses his devotion to vinyl. It’s worth sticking around once Phil Manzanera lets loose on guitar, even through the fake fade. (The subject was tackled with a little more humor a few years on by the Police.)
Eno has more room to wander on “The Bogus Man”, a nine-minute groove on one note that still manages to stay interesting due to everybody’s input. Once that sputters away, “Gray Lagoons” sounds almost carefree, reviving some ‘50s elements and even breaking down for a harmonica solo. The title track brings the mood back to dark, first taking its sweet time to get rolling, then wandering around the piano for far too long to the end, culminating in Mellotron and Judi Dench.
For Your Pleasure has to compete with the first album, and while it’s not as striking, it’s still worthwhile. We want to like it, if that helps. Eno’s own opinion was clear when he said “tarah tarah” to the band for his own feathered path, yet the others would soldier on.

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure (1973)—3

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