Cherry Red Records (label)
13 June 2015 (released)
20 July 2015
Anyone fascinated by the One Direction, sorry 1D, phenomenon, either wasn't alive or is ignorant to the hysterical scenes that have followed boy bands since and including The Beatles. Remember Take That's break-up announcement, leading to support lines being flooded with distressed callers? Bay City Rollers were the 1970s kings of boy band. For a time they were the biggest pop act in the UK, possibly the world. These reissues come from the time after it had all crashed to the ground, as it inevitably does.
Voxx and Ricochet were released under the name The Rollers, and moved away from the instant pop of their heyday hits like Bye Bye Baby and Give A Little Love. These are the second and third albums with Duncan Faure on lead vocal, after Less McKeown's departure.
1980's Voxx sees them moving further away from their teen-pop background as the band strived for more serious recognition. Coming at the height of punk-pop, there are elements here of bands like The Jags and The Cars, who transitioned elements of punk and New Romantic to bridge the gap. As if to highlight this move, the band cover David Bowie's Rebel Rebel, but it has not travelled well over the intervening 35 years. Better are the Kiss-like rock moments of God Save Rock & Roll and The Hero, which remember the key ingredients of a tune and fun.
1981's Ricochet progresses their music further towards the electronic sound of the era, mixed with rock, beginning with the cheesy but excellent Doors, Bars, Metal. While the vocals from Faure are weaker, there are enough tunes here (Roxy Lady and the title track in particular) to prove that the music wasn't the problem. It was their heritage as a boy-band. The transition to a mature sound was never going to be easily accepted. The multitude of line-up changes would not have helped. One hidden treasure here is Life On The Radio, which is a predecessor to Queen's Radio Gaga. Neither of these albums were originally released in the UK by Arista - making this release on CD even more sought after by fans of their later sound.