Given that Roxy Music's debut was one of the wildest records of 1972 or any other year, it's fairly astonishing that 1973's follow-up is even more extreme. For Your Pleasure amplifies both the pounding pop and the fleecy freak-outs of its predecessor via sharper lyrics and more commanding sonics. Where Roxy Music had ex-King Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield acting as producer, this one's got Chris Thomas, who worked on the Beatles' White Album and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and who'd go on to the Sex Pistols, the Pretenders and Pulp. Rather than reigning them in, he helps them blast off in opposite directions. Lead track "Do The Strand" is the perfect starting place for beginners curious about Brian Eno-era Roxy. Like the debut's "Re-Make/Re-Model" and its amended single "Virginia Plain," it's got pile-driving drummer Paul Thompson hammering the snare on every beat like vintage Motown as Bryan Ferry spits Dr. Seuss-ian lyrics celebrating the ultimate dance craze: "Tired of the tango? Fed up with fandango? Dance on moonbeams! Slide on rainbows!" There's so much density and intensity here, manifested in blaring and grinding and toot-tooting, that this exemplary Roxy anthem never gets old.
While dramatic ballads, frantic rockers and tracks that flit between the two ("Strictly Confidential," "Editions of You," and "Grey Lagoons," respectively) further connect For Your Pleasure to its predecessor, the longer songs stretch out into even bolder territory by building drones that show off Eno's early sound-sculpting quirks and the band's growing ability to sustain tension. With its near-reggae rhythm and proto-dub textures, "The Bogus Man" is too syncopated and chic to be conventionally psychedelic, but notice how Phil Manzanera's many funky and buzzing guitars and Andy Mackay's wailing sax come and go. The title track pushes Eno's sonic manipulation even harder: Check the clever doubling of Manzanera's surf guitar with Ferry's underwater keyboards while the reverb builds and builds until it swallows everything like the waves of an unforgiving ocean. The other fuzz-fest, "In Every Dream Home a Heartache," heads into primal Velvet Underground territory, but instead of heroin, Ferry's seeks to ease his existential ache with an inflatable doll. "I blew up your body but you blew my mind," he delivers his utterly ridiculous and yet sublime punch line before the music goes POW.