Condition: Sleeve: Excellent Media: Excellent
The Roches is the 1979 eponymous debut trio album by The Roches, produced by Robert Fripp, who also plays guitar and Fripperies (a variation of his Frippertronics). Also playing on the album are Tony Levin and Jimmy Maelen of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame.
Paul Simon had been so impressed with the sisters that he invited them to sing harmony on the song "Was a Sunny Day" on his album There Goes Rhymin' Simon. He helped them get a publishing deal and a record contract, and even produced one song on the duo’s 1975 album Seductive Reasoning. The label advised the sisters to "wear hipper clothes." Terre Roche later said:
We were humiliated... We wanted to get out of the whole situation. We had a friend in Hammond, Louisiana, who was running a kung fu school. We gave up our apartment and told the record company, ‘We’re not going to promote the record anymore; we’re going away for a while.’ This was two weeks after the record came out. Maggie wrote the "Hammond Song" about the whole experience.
The album was well received. John Rockwell in The New York Times wrote that the album was "... the best pop record of 1979 thus far. In fact, it's so superior that it will be remarkable if another disk comes along to supplant it as best album of the year." Rockwell subsequently picked it as the best album of that year, stating that it was "... also the scariest record, because the Roches probe emotions and even fears that most pop — most art, even — does not approach." Jay Cocks in Time magazine wrote that the Roches music "is startling, lacerating and amusing". The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said "Robert Fripp's austere production of this witty, pretty music not only abjures alien instrumentation but also plays up the quirks of the Roches' less-than-commanding voices and acoustic guitars. Thus it underscores their vulnerability and occasional desperation and counteracts their flirtations with the coy and the fey. The result is not a perfect record, but rather one whose imperfections are lovingly mitigated." It was voted #11 for the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
It has continued to be highly rated. AllMusic characterized it as a "mischievous and highly original folk blend". And The Rolling Stone Album Guide gave it its classic rating calling it an "unprecedented thrill" that was "spare, loose, pointed" and equating it to the Greenwich Village version of the New York punk explosion.