Thursday 21 March 2024

No dummies

In common with most, if not all1, artistes, Roxy Music had a (very) small window when they couldn't put a foot wrong. I mean when the press, their fans, friends and peers all blew smoke up their arse and praised them to the hilt. Purists will say this window remained open for about three years: between 1972 & 1975 (though in all honesty this mythical window had already started to close as early as 1973 after their third album, Stranded.)

Odd then that, somewhat belatedly, I have fallen headlong in love with an album they brought out when the window had long since been removed by the builders and subsequently bricked up. Manifesto, from 1979, came out when I was still knee deep in the new wave. However, even new wave was becoming a somewhat oxymoronic label three years after New Rose and Anarchy. If Bryan Ferry and Co. had been listening to anything by the Damned or the Pistols it certainly didn't show2 - not when you hear the singles they culled from the album - Angel Eyes and Dance Away. Which, if I'm perfectly honest, was all I'd heard from this particular period of post-Eno Roxy. Both of which I felt were insipid and left me rather cold3

That is until a couple of album tracks started to appear on those pesky Spotify playlists that get shared around, and this entered my psyche. It's the album opener which for its first two minutes you think is a blistering instrumental, and then at 2:30 Ferry limbers up and announces his arrival. How had I missed this?

Roxy Music - Manifesto (1979)

Ferry has intermittently got the band back together over the years for live reunions (their 40th & 50th anniversaries in particular) but there's been no new product, no new songs since 1982's Avalon. Tho' they did come close in 2010 when the old gang, including Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Eno, collaborated with Bryan with a 'y' and recorded some new material. However BF bagged them for himself and put out another solo effort; Olympia - the last Roxy album that never was. 

1The Beatles would have to be excluded from any such list. Wouldn't they?

2However, the intro to Manifesto reminds me of Squeeze's Take Me I'm Yours.

3Not any more - when heard in context, and in order, they make perfect sense. Does that make sense?

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