Bay City Rollers
Arista AL 4049
Released: September 1975
Chart Peak: #20
Weeks Charted: 35
Certified Gold: 12/31/75
British "teen 'n tartan" mania notwithstanding, Bay City Rollers is real featherweight stuff These guys lack the visceral energy of punk rock at its best, while their feeble attempts at a pure pop construct are derivative and washed out to the point of anonymity. A relentless lack of imagination pervades every arrangement, whether on colorless originals like "Shang-a-Lang" or bastardized covers like the Four Seasons' "Bye Bye Baby" and Chris Gentry's "Keep on Dancing."
Besides showing off a lot of sparkling new dental work in their cosmeticized group portraits, the Rollers prove conclusively that the bottom of the pop cliché vaults has finally been plumbed. Starting with what is vaguely a Phil Spector/Bob Crewe sound, each track aspires to the grandiose sound montages of the early-middle Sixties, only to achieve scaled down "budget" versions perfectly in keeping with the Seventies' economic picture. The music is so studio-boosted that one might begin to suspect the instrumental credits given to each band member on the liner copy. The melodies are instantly forgettable.
Can this really be looked upon as a step forward from other British pop phenomena, such as T. Rex and Slade, who never made it on this side of the Atlantic? For those who still cling to the perilous notion that teen musical consciousness continues to evolve, I suggest you check out this item at your own risk.
The Bay City Rollers are a quintet of five young Englishmen with very white teeth who take up where the Carpenters leave off, harmonizing, in voices that seem to have changed only recently, on subjects of patent teenage concern: "huggin' and kissin'" in the moonlight with the date of the evening, the frangibility of the adolescent heart, the joys of sunlit summer days ("Run in the sun and have fun with the boy that you really love"). Cute, slick, and silly.
- Paul Kresh, Stereo Review, 1/76.
After totally devastating the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, the Bay City Rollers have appeared in their first U.S. release. Although the music is a mixture of hits from their first two British albums, it is still very timely. Overall, the sound of the Rollers is very teeny-bopper oriented, which is a very welcome thing to many youngsters, because the wealth of groups in this area has dried up. Many rock 'n' roll tunes are redone by the group, in addition to many originals, and there is no reason why this group shouldn't become a big, top 40 seller in the U.S. Best cuts: "Bye Bye Baby," "Shang-A-Lang," "Let's Go," "Be My Baby," "Summer Love Sensation," "Remember (Sha La La La)," "Saturday Night."
- Billboard, 1975.
I was hoping I wouldn't have to mention this, but the single has made the push to the top. So... what you figured, too bland to be offensive yet, more Partridge Family than Osmonds. Noormal geeze just like yew. C
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
This is the American version of the Rollin' album but without the diversity of the other record. Featuring a slightly different track lineup, the LP is definitely targeted at the bubblegum audience. * *
- Jim Worbois, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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