The British band Roxy Music never really achieved mass success in the U.S., but like The Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart, they have become one of those bands indie art rockers need to name check in ticking off influences lest they be shamed as musical poseurs. But listening back on their catalogue, you can’t help but be impressed by the bands creativity.
Fronted by Bryan Ferry and at one time including Brian Eno on synth (before he would go on to produce everyone from U2 to Paul Simon), the band ushered in New Wave, combining elements of punk rock and Glam, with a knack for quirky and wildly creative sounds.
EMI and Virgin have just re-released a box set that includes all eight of the band’s albums, recorded over a 10-year span, along with two additional CDs of bonus material. In the beginning, the band devoted so much time to their look that the visual aesthetics of the group almost overshadowed the music, but in years that followed. They grew confident as musicians, started writing more cohesive songs and stopped the image from overshadowing the songs.
As a result, Roxy Music influenced everyone from Duran Duran and Muse to David Bowie and the ska band Madness. The first two albums, their self-titled debut and For Your Pleasure, are interesting if a bit cluttered, but by the third album Stranded and the excellent Country Life, they had refined their style and found their sound, a nice mix of new wave, pop, glam and even snatches of rockabilly here and there.
This collection, including 2 full discs of singles, B-Sides and remixes, is a good excuse to revisit a band that you likely missed the first time around.