Monday, September 12, 2005


A few weeks back I picked up some of the Roxy Music remastered resissues that came out a few years back - I have vinyl, but only a greatest hits set on CD. Today's post is all about their 1979 album Manifesto. I was unaware of Roxy Music when I moved to the UK that same year, and this album was my introduction to the band. It was the single for Angel Eyes, a slick, syncopated disco track with Bryan Ferry's distinctive croon that caught my attention. I bought a copy of the album, and was hooked by the bands mix of stylish art rock, new wave and dance-ability. Their music straddled a fine line between commerciality and art, rocking hard and gentle heartbreak, real instruments and electronic experimentation. All of this should come as no surprise considering that experimental pioneer Brian Eno was once a very flamboyant member of the band. Thus began my love affair with Roxy Music and Ferry's solo stuff. So imagine my surprise when, upon popping the remastered Manifesto into the car's CD player, a completely different version of Angel Eyes poured out of my speakers. This is not the version from my vinyl copy! Instead of the slick disco beats is a harder rocking, sax driven beast. I assume that when the rerecorded version became a hit the record company pressed copies of the album with the remake instead of this version - I haven't been able to find any info about it. It was a pretty cool moment for me, hearing this "new" and very different take. The previous single from the record was Dance Away. This tune is one of the more danceable numbers, especially when that disco high hat kicks in down the home stretch. I love the clean crispness of this track - you can hear everything so clearly from the beats to the gorgeous piano. I am amazed at how well this album holds up after some 25 years - the production is sharp, and the distinctive sounds of new wave that they mixed into their unique brew still excites me today.

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