Bryan Ferry: Avonmore

Icon of immaculateness brings passion with the poise.

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Bryan Ferry’s 14th solo album sees him continuing to hone that rich, rarefied sound he first concocted almost 30 years ago, post-Roxy, on Boys And Girls. It was then that sonic textures began to interest him more than textual lyricism. But he’s now successfully fusing the studio perfectionist with the romantic poet.

The usual starry guest list – from Nile Rodgers to Johnny Marr, from Ronnie Spector to Maceo Parker – are there among the layers of rhythms and rhyming guitars, as the singer whispers with more blissfully world-weary longing and despair than ever.

A man with a mission, a dog with a bone’, he sighs of how insane he’s being driven in ‘a world of confusion’; all the while, as is his style, sounding like he’d be disorientated if he wasn’t. The urgent, pressing gloss-funk of Avonmore and insistent drive of Midnight Train find catharsis in the gentler sways of Lost.

Closing covers of Send In The Clowns (was a song ever more suited to the Ferry persona?) and Robert Palmer’s Johnny And Mary (with Todd Terje) are sepulchral and sorrowful. That search for perfection, his own predilection, goes on, gorgeously lit by this./o:p

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.