from the idiosyncratic art rock of their self-titled debut to the seductive pop of albums like 'avalon', roxy music covered a lot of ground, but 'country life', which falls somewhere in between, synthesizes all of their strengths. singer bryan ferry's vision of sophisticated, 'gentleman' rock emerges on this release, yet the strident, driving quality crucial to the band's early sound still looms large. the combination of textures is exhilarating, and the songwriting which draws on elements of r&b, cabaret music, and glam rock - is among the band's best. standouts include 'bitter-sweet', a clear homage to the bombast and fading glory of german cabaret music, and the work of kurt weill in particular, and 'casanova', a dense funk track carried along on a complex bass line and a wavering synthesizer. the album's last track, 'prairie rose', leads off with a heavily echoed guitar solo, and features some of andrew mackay's most expressive saxophone playing. everything from the famously controversial cover art (which depicts two very scantily clad models) to the varied, often spectacular music within, marks country life as unique. it is one of the finest moments in the band's impressive catalogue.