This article belongs to the story Roxy Music also convinces with the second album: For Your Pleasure.
The second Roxy Music album got even more attention from the press than the astonishing debut (see Roxy Music – Debut album – The Reviews). Below all the English and American reviews I was able to find. The reviews I have gathered in (my native tongue) Dutch have been omitted from this article. Would you want to read the Dutch reviews anyway, please click here, or click on the Dutch flag beside/below this article.
Melody Maker, March 17, 1973
FOR YOUR PLEASURE
…is the title of Roxy Music’s sensational second album.
“There’s a new sensation. A fabulous creation. A danceable solution. To teenage revolution.” Well, what is it?
“Tired of the tango? Fed up with fandango?” Most certainly, but have you got anything better Mr. Bryan Ferry?
What is this new sensation? “Do the Strand love. When you feel love. It’s the new way. That’s why we say: Do the Strand.” The Strand? “The Sphinx and Mona Lisa. Lolita and Guernica. Did the Strand.”
Well, in that case, so will I, and so will you – and before you know it, the whole country will be Stranding like buggery. It’s new, its great, it’s The Strand.
“I don’t quite know what the Strand is,” said Bryan Ferry smoking yet another of my Marlboro’s (but, they’re nice to share). “It’s sort of…”
He shimmied a leg, rolled his eyes, and made a locomotion movement with one arm. “You can do anything you like to it really. We were going to get Lionel Blair to work out some dance routines for it… but The Strand is everything.”
It is. And so is Roxy Music’s new album, For Your Pleasure, which Bryan was turning up full volume. We’d met in the Markham Arms, King’s Road. I was expecting to meet some very serious, over-bored, over-aware fellow, with a liking for arty things and nostalgia. Funny what the mind conjures up.
Instead, Ferry is loveable, nervous, witty in the nicest places and as open as a barn door. I found him extraordinary looking, even though he was dressed plainly in black and a bit of leather. He has a face and forehead that would do justice to a role in Star Trek. He looks to all intents and purposes like one of us Captain, but I beg to tell you that he has two hearts – and three brains,” said Spock. That sort of thing, if you can see what I mean.
We shared a glass, raved over E.L.O.’s Roll Over Beethoven gushed out by the juke. “I love Jeff Lynne’s singing but Roy Wood’s better. When I was a dee-jay I had a habit of playing Fire Brigade every night.”
Now there’s a little insight into Ferry for you.
We crossed King’s Road, flurry and fur and flash, and within minutes were settled into a cushy office, speakers pounding out rock n roll, and the lyrics urged one to do the Strand – opening track to this new album. And what a fabulous new Roxy this is! Ferry openly admits that it’s way better than the first album.
“A year on the road has seen to that. We spent ages over the first album. Weeks and weeks and weeks, but got together in just over twelve days. Our playing is far superior, everything is far superior.”
I asked Bryan to comment on the tracks individually, but once the tape had started, neither of us was particularly anxious to talk. Instead we just listened – Ferry gazing onto the King’s Road, me gazing into the space between the two speakers.
Side One – Do The Strand: There is absolutely no doubt that when you hear this you’ll put it right back on, again, and then again. It’s so bloody attractive. Well plonked eights on the piano, coupled with snorty/wailing/screaming sax. Apart from the lyrics being a total gas – that’s not the first thing that catches you. Instead, it’s the urge to get up and dance. “Purely a dancer,” said Bryan later, “I think it’s nice to write a dancer don’t you?”Side OneIt’s a single, it’s got to be a single, I told him. “But that would be cheating kids, putting a single out from an album. That’s cheating,” said Bryan. He’s so nice. We played the track three times in all… it’s that sort of thing. An honest rocker and pleasingly bizarre too.
Beauty Queen: As Bryan so aptly put it “This one has a distinct Northern working men’s club feel to it.” On this slow, droopy ballad, Ferry sounds like a mutated cross between Gene Pitney, and Engelbert Humperdinck (whoops). Some feverish, but soft guitar nurses the vocal line. “Ooo the way you look makes my starry eyes shiver.” It creeps, and groans a little… groaning so much after a minute that you wanna laugh.
A smile crept across Ferry’s face too, that was just before the curdling finished and the band stops for a split second, and reappears gashing, and fighting loud, and straight snappy rock. They certainly rock like nobody’s business on this album. “Most things were done on the first take too. You might say we’re together;” said Ferry. After the frantic jamming, the number returns to slink and slop.
Strictly Confidential: Hell, now I know what happened to Edmund Hockeridge – he lost six stone and joined Roxy. The opening to this most certainly has a Housewive’s Choice ballad feel to it, plus the fact that Ferry’s voice hits the soapy langour for which Edmund is so rightly famous.
A grower, it lulls one into listening to the lyrics, while the music rolls slowly, rising, and turning. It builds to a nightmarish, confused ending of nasty noise. It leaves one feeling quite emotionally wasted. Most enjoyable.
Editions Of You: “Ever noticed how much Roxy steal?” someone asked me. “Yes,” I replied, “but they steal well.”
Two lovely examples of masterful thieving occur on this delicious track. For a start the electric piano intro is straight from the opening chords of Brown Sugar. It don’t sound the same – but it is. Then the actual meat of this rocker is guitar a la Fortune Teller. It’s about time that guitar phrasing was used again anyhow, and used to beautiful effect too. Like Strand, this strikes you as an instant single, such is the force, appeal and clean precision.
“Play that one again,” so we did. Oh what, a magnificent guitar break cuts it in half. Yes, a real guitar break that doesn’t sound like any other guitar break you’ve ever heard. No mean achievement these days. This showcases the fabulous bass offerings of John Porter – consistent and tremendous throughout.
Ferry’s lyrics are again remarkable: “Too much cheesecake too soon / Old money’s better than new / No mention in the latest Tribune / And don’t let this happen to you.” No messing, no wastage – a beginning, a middle, quantity, quality and an ending.
In Every Dream Home A Heartache: Ferry’s personal favourite. “It was twice as long when I first wrote it… but with it being a recitation rather than a song I had to cut it quite a bit.” It is a recitation of an extremely terrifying poem. “Personal experiences Bryan?” “…Um, I’ll wait a couple of weeks before I answer that.”
Monotonous half-singing. “I bought you mail order / my plain wrapper baby / Your skin is like vinyl / The perfect companion… Inflatable doll / My role is to serve you / Disposable darling.”
One of those questioning pieces that throws one into a state of doomed confusion. It works on the emotions like a Cohen drama. One’s spine is removed – temporarily, to allow for total relaxation, allowing the mind to work freely with the lyrics. And then it explodes into a heavy dripping, electric ending. Most stunning, and most certainly the finest lyrics I’ve seen in a year or two. There’s silence, and the track re-appears in a phased swishy form, courtesy of Eno. Rather like the little tit-bits that appeared on Family’s first album Doll’s House. Side one swishes and trips to an end. It’s most relevant that we take a break here. The reason is quite simple. In plain words, Side One is instant, quick and immediately colourful. You could play every track – maybe with the exception of the last – before breakfast, and relish them.
Side two however offers the deeper side of Roxy. It sees them delving into a mass of technicalities / dream sequences / electrical tripping / psychedelia. Yes it’s psychedelic. One shouldn’t be afraid to use that word these days, especially as it really does fit the situation. You’ll play Side One anytime but you’ll only play Side Two in the company of oneself, or few close friends… And late at night… AND preferably, on cans.
It consists of three “lengths” rather than tracks – Bogus Man, Grey Lagoons and For Your Pleasure.
The most pleasing (again on an instant level) is Bogus Man.
This pumps and crumps in at a fierce, funking rate. Drums first and then guitar and naughty noises from Eno. Slightly reminiscent of Sat’d’y Barfly from Family. The reason I say that is because of the feeling one gets of late-night New York, taxi ridden, and heaving, hot with electricity. An uptown funk. Ferry’s voice is actually so screamed and distorted that you’ll think of Roger Chapman – it ain’t too dissimilar at all. It also has a bizarre burlesque feel in places too.
“Funky chicken guitar is supplied by John Porter,” said Bryan. Again, this man must be complimented for his technique and rocks-off feel. Metallic, quickly swept guitar throughout. There’s so much going on, so much to listen to.
Despite its length, lyrical content is short – but aggressive as Hell. “The bogus man is at your heels / Now clutching at your coat / You must be quick now… HURRY up / He’s SCRATCHING at your THROAT”. Shiver.
Next, Grey Lagoons, with a dashing tempo, and Mellotron giving the impression of a stoned Welsh choir hovering throughout. The snazzy sax sound from Andy Mackay also adds a Jnr. Walker edge. Don’t know whether to dance or deliver one’s mind to this one.
Ferry adds an outrageous harmonica solo, before the track screws itself into your head in what might be called an ‘alarming’ fashion. “It’s amazing what things we got into on the second side. It wasn’t a case of showing WHAT we could do but showing HOW we could do it. And I’m extremely pleased with the WAY we did it;” said Bryan, filching yet another cigarette.
With the teasing and phasing and dreaming on Side Two, you’ll be shown a whole new side of the head: There exists some incredible playing through Bogus Man, Grey Lagoons and the real canyons of your mind stuff – For Your Pleasure. But again, this is music for the mind.
When Side Two had driven itself to a crazed halt, I could do no more than ask, for Strand again. I love new crazes, and this one is especially loveable.
“Me?” said Bryan, “Well, I like ’em all. I feel we have more aggressive material to offer now. There’s certainly aggression on this album.”
And so much variety, too, Bryan. “Well, that’s the spice of life, isn’t it?” he said.
Roy Hollingsworth, Melody Maker, March 17, 1973
Disc, March 24, 1973
AT ROXY’S PLEASURE
A huge and lovely improvement on their first album, Roxy Music have in the intervening year, strengthened their strong points, weeded out their weaknesses and come up with what is, on the whole, an outstandingly good album.
It’s very cut and dried. Side two was recorded first and is three long tracks, an instrumental called The Bogus Man which I thought the weakest track on the album, a lot of basic rhythm but uninspired embellishment; a great symphony of vocals and echo on a big schmaltz called Grey Lagoons which has an interesting harmonica break; and For Your Pleasure.
Side one is for boppers and crooner swooners – five zappy little numbers that are tight, neat and easier on the ear. Two are in my favourite Roxy style – that great, driving, energetic style with saxes and piano and guitars and Eno fiddling about electrically all pelting away at once – that’s Do The Strand and Editions Of You. Beauty Queen has a lovely opening with Bryan’s vocals over slow piano, and Strictly Confident has some beautiful tenor sax and oboe from Andy. In Every Dream Home has some of the best lyrics on the album (and they’re crystal clear, it’s a lovely production job).
Beautiful cover as usual.
Caroline Boucher, Disc, March 24, 1973
New Musical Express, March 24, 1973
PLEASURE INDEED: ROXY ARE STAGGERINGLY FINE…
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.
Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express, March 24, 1973
Sounds, March 24, 1973
FOR YOUR PLEASURE
First of all, this album is a vastly better album that Roxy’s first – it has more of a sense of purpose, a solid base in the rhythm section of John Porter (bass) and Paul Thompson (drums), without losing some of the less straightforward aspects of their music that gave the first album its charm. Everyone plays better – Phil Manzanera’s guitar playing throughout has a kind of subtle inventiveness and richness of idea that I wasn’t aware of before.
Eno gets some nice things going. Andy Mackay blows a great deal of highly appropriate stuff, and sometimes – as on Strictly Confidential, Editions Of You, and Grey Lagoons – rises to excellence, and Bryan Ferry proves himself in his songwriting and, more especially, in his vocal styles to be, in the nicest possible way, poseur par excellence. Listen for instance to In Every Dream Home A Heartache, and see if it doesn’t remind you of The Doors on their Strange Days album from the arrangement, the way it’s kept subdued for a while, then breaks out into a heavy melodramatic section, fades out and fades in again with heavy phasing, right through to Ferry’s croaking vocal. They’re unexceptional devises in themselves, but conjure a heavy image of late ’60s incense and bubbly light shows for me. Or he gets into, a kind of Elvis balladeering mood for something like Beauty Queen or Grey Lagoons, crooning with the best of them.
But it somehow leaves the front of the band with a figurehead rather than personality, and yet it isn’t anonymous enough to avoid rather flat and same-ish texture to most of the album. This is really my only reservation about the album – that because Bryan takes so much of the front-line weight and he isn’t quite the songwriter nor the singer to do that with complete success in a band as strong as this, For Your Pleasure is an album that I’ll rarely play all the way through, playing it more as a collection of singles – a track or two at a time.
I can only hope that they draw more on the strength of collective individuality obvious on The Bogus Man in the future, and that maybe they’ll spice the next album with songs from more than one writer. However entertaining, Bryan and The Roxettes is a waste of potential.
Steve Peacock, Sounds, March 24, 1973
Record Mirror, April 14, 1973
ROXY PLUM DEPTHS
Having just seen Roxy live and also on the Old Grey Whistle Test, this album is already fairly familiar to me. I just wish that had been the case when seeing the group live, because there are some great lyrical depths here which would have given their performance a further dimension. Bryan Ferry doesn’t have the greatest of voices (though he does manage to incorporate a beautifully sinister feel into it), but his lyrics are often superbly amusing, cynical and show a great insight. Somewhat computerised, says Bob Harris, and it’s easy to see why particularly as Roxy rely a good deal on synthesised sounds and tapes. But listen more and more and they’ll capture your soul and lure you into the depths of their lair! Do The Strand is a great uptempo number and for a real delve into the murky depths of suburban life give a listen to In Every Dream A Heartache, all about a deluxe and delightful inflatable lady. “I blew up your body, but you blew my mind!” says Ferry. Great stuff from a band fast becoming a cult.
Val Mabbs, Record Mirror, April 14, 1973
Rolling Stone, July 5, 1973
ROXY MUSIC: FOR YOUR PLEASURE
Stop doing the stroll, mouse, limbo, eighty-one and peppermint twist. Give the Strand four minutes of your time and you won’t think of doing another dance for at least two weeks.
In an album that is remarkably inaccessible, Do The Strand strikes with immediate impact. This lead-off number, written by lead singer Bryan Ferry, is the cleverest use of language and rhyme since I Am The Walrus. “Tired of the tango? Fed up with fandango? …Bored of the beguine? The sambo isn’t your scene? …Weary of the waltz? And mashed potato schmaltz?” By the time the band has taken off on its mid-flight solo, the listener desperately wants to do the Strand, whatever it is. Turns out it isn’t anything, which enhances the magic of what is a total performance. Andrew Mackay’s wailing saxophone punctuates Ferry’s questions, the rest of the band produces a high-powered backing track, and Ferry sounds perfectly nasty when he says, “We like the Strand.”
You’ll like it, too, and you can be excused for putting the needle back at the beginning, especially if you hear what comes afterwards. Sadly, the British Top Ten hit Pyjamarama is not included, and the seven tracks that are here are hard to bite into. There are some worthwhile moments, to be sure. Changing rhythms, Eno’s use of synthesizer and tapes, instrumental passages. Ferry’s odd vocal styling and the group’s sudden endings are all worth hearing, but mainly because they are interesting, not entertaining. The only true highlights are the eerie In Every Dream Home A Heartache and the “boys will be boys will be boyoyoyoys” line and Mackay’s solo on Editions Of You.
Side two drones on with a nine-minute instrumental that sounds like a rip-off of The Doors’ Alabama Song. The title tune ends the album, but is it a tune? It sounds like dogs barking repetitively for minutes on end. Maybe it is Eno’s genius at work, but if so you’ve gotta be Mensa level to understand him or be so stoned you still think the drum solo on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a tour de force.
A great deal of the group’s appeal is visual, and even staring at the interior gatefold won’t communicate that excitement. If Do The Strand, Pyjamarama and Virginia Plain were all on a maxi-single it would be one of the buys of the year. But the bulk of For Your Pleasure is either above us, beneath us, or on another plane altogether. You can find out where they register on your individual scale. As for me, I shall continue doing the Strand.
Paul Gambaccini, Rolling Stone, July 5, 1973
Creem, September 1973
ROXY MUSIC: FOR YOUR PLEASURE
Ever since the advent of rock’n’roll there’s always been a few tweety performers who would insist upon re-directing the primitive rhythmic spirit of pop music onto a more avant-garde, esoteric plane. This pattern, opften triggered by a need to be too creative, gave early rock listeners such gaga treasures like Walter Wart The Freak Frog by the Thorndike Pickledish Choir or Snoot Hoot by the KKK. Then those dumbshit arty progressive creeps stumbled onto the trick and forced gunky operative vaseline down yer throat with the likes of Soft Machine and who knows how many cultured European groups. Pink Floyd is space music, my ass!!!
Then along lopes this group from some School of Design with an honest attempt to cash in on the glam-rock but. Nobody knows nuttin’ about ’em. Lead singer didn’t come from Blue Cheer, or the bass player didn’t hail from Cream. They just come outa the blue like real schmoes, and the peons at the top promote ’em, but still nobody couls give a shit. Which is a pure shame cuz the truth of the matter is that this is the very first avant-garde combo worth listening to. They’re good mainly cuz they try too hard.
By that I mean that even tho they ain’t girls they still look pretty enuf to goose. They’re so glamorous and straight from Hollywood that they make ya swoon for sure. It’s as gruff as anything put out by Beefheart or Family, and it’s perfect for when you feel like doin’ the robot. This record is great for parties and may even put Roxy Music right up there with The Rivingtons.
Nevertheless, the problem with these pretty boys is that they ain’t got enuf grip for a national top ten chart-whopper. What they really need is a move on a TV show to set ’em on top. Like, Soul Train sets the fashion trends and pukes up War and stuff, but there ain’t one goddamn trend setting show for whites since Shindig, Where The Action Is, and The Monkees kicked the bucket. (American Bandstand never did really ever count cuz it was always just a Mouseketeer Club for teens.) So Roxy Music could start one and call it Sleek Goo Go-Go and you could bet it would have klass. There’d then be Roxy Music hair styles and suede shoes and jump-suits and lollipops, and someone would put out a cheapo line of synthsizers that would sound like a muted Farfisa, and a whole new generation of chumps would once again mature like puppets on a string.
But it’ll never happen. These guys are much too hot for all that. They got an ample supply of too much of nothing going for ’em. Give this album two months, and I betcha you’ll be able to find it for ninety-nine cents at your local K-Mart.
Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1973
Robert Christgau, 1973
For Your Pleasure
These guys make no secret of having a strange idea of a good time, but this isn’t decadent, it’s ridiculous. Side one surrounds two pained, strained torch jobs with two classic neo-rockers and finishes with a song about an inflatable sex doll that’s almost not stupid (title: “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”). Side two surrounds a fast fast one with two long mostly instrumental slow ones that are almost not boring. Verdict: almost not not bad.
Robert Christgau, 1973
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure image: spotify.com
Melody Maker – Logo image: facebook.com
DISC Magazine – Logo image: the-paulmccartney-project.com
New Musical Express – Logo image: weebly.com
Sounds – Logo image: soundsmagazine.co.uk
Record Mirror – Logo image: eil.com
Rolling Stone – Logo image: logodownload.org
Creem Magazine – Logo image: risamickenberg.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Sketch for the cover by Antony Price, 1973 image:showtime.com