Bryan Ferry: Avonmore
No one does smooth like Bryan Ferry.
On Avonmore, his 14th solo album, the legendary singer-songwriter channels the sonic spirit of Avalon, the similarly-titled final release by Ferry’s Roxy Music that culminated the band’s refined, adult-oriented sound. The record is equal parts fresh and reminiscent of his classic sound, a contemporary return from Ferry’s 1920s-styled The Jazz Age (2012).
Ferry co-produced Avonmore with longtime collaborator Rhett Davies, who produced Avalon and several other records for Roxy Music and Ferry. Detractors will critique Ferry for the sticky-sweetness of his sound or the dated – but its been the same story since Roxy Music helped invent glam rock in the early ’70s as an antithesis to hippy frivolity and masculinized hard rock alike. You like it or you don’t. For the former faction, Avonmore will be another treat from a singular talent still going strong five decades into his career.
The album slyly features Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller, and Johnny Marr (who co-wrote the track “Soldier of Fortune”), all of whom have worked with Ferry before. Highlights include the funky single “Loop De Li” and “Driving Me Wild.” As he’s been known to do, Ferry covers two songs alongside his eight originals: Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” and an inventive take on Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary,” which was collaborated with Todd Terje and previously released on the Norwegian DJ’s excellent full-length debut earlier this year. Despite the geographical and ostensive distance between the two artists, the sultry track feels equally at home on both LPs.
In a review for The Telegraph, Neil McCormick wrote, “Liquid grooves coalesce from a glittering cascade of notes, with sparkling tints of guitar, saxophone, piano and voices flowing over a bed of ever-shifting bass and drums. Guitarists Nile Rodgers and Johnny Marr have contributed…but you would be hard pressed to identify their distinctive parts, such is the unique textural blend. The focal element is Ferry’s fragile voice, with off-centre pitch and phrasing so perfectly placed it draws you in like a hypnotic command.”
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