ALBUM : AVONMORE
ARTIST : BRYAN FERRY
GENRE : POP / ROCK
DATE RELEASED : 2014
Reinventing musical styles is not for everyone and only few artists can do it successfully. However, sticking to one musical style is not a bad thing though provided that the songs that you offer still sound fresh decades after on insisting one musical style. This is the basic context that we need to understand and instill when reviewing this latest or 15th album of former Roxy Music lead man; Bryan Ferry.
Watch live performance of “Midnight Train” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUQmAFLA0cY.
The album is like a wedding; it has some old and something new. Something old is the softly whispering vocal that tries to seduce. Something new are songs that despite being sounded dated can sound fresh and current given the right arrangement. There are also something borrowed as there are two cover versions in this 2014 album of Ferry.
Watch official video of “Loop De Li here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a0_ko3Vr68.
Let us tackle something borrowed firs. We know that Bryan Ferry is quite fond of doing covers and the results were quite mixed. His cover of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” is quite a travesty. He totally ruined the song. While the string arrangement is quite alright but doing the whole thing ala William Orbit is not what Sondheim in mind. Regarding Johnny and Mary, the Robert Palmer version was kind bittersweet and charming. Ferry’s version is quite the opposite; it sounded like a funeral song. But, it was quite brave of him not to mimic the original vibe of these two classics.
Watch official video of ‘Johnny and Mary” here Listen to remix version of “Avonmore” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdd-SSTunXk.
Now for something old, “Midnight Train” is old sound (think “Long Train Running” by Doobie Brothers) and it may sound like a rip-off but actually is a track with retro vibe made relevant by Nile Rodgers. It’s like Daft Punk meet Roxy Music. “Loop De Li” is typical Bryan Ferry music along the likes of “Don’t Stop The Dance.” These songs proved that Bryan Ferry musical style is something that one cannot ignore and continue to appreciate even if sounded dated. It can only mean that you miss his voice and music from time to time as it really soothes your soul. It’s like a guilty pleasure with healing powers.
Listen to remix version of “Avonmore” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdd-SSTunXk.
Regarding something new, well, he actually tries to recapture “Slave To Love” glory with “A Special Kind of Guy.” Unfortunately, perhaps he needs another Kim Basinger to create miracles for this song. “Avonmore” is quite new for fans who insist on listening to his nearly chill and ambient song and avoid songs with dance vibe like this song. In “Driving Me Wild,” it is quite new for him merging funk and his musical style.
Watch official video of “One Night Stand” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43R_m1vxU-c.
Is refusing a reinvention a bad thing? Nope, it is not if you are Bryan Ferry. The thing is that his music always tends to sound different given the pop culture that is relevant at the moment. The generic vibe of pop and even rock music make his songs tend to be the odd man out. With that, I rate this record 4 stars out of 5 stars. As I stated earlier, his music is a guilty pleasure with healing powers.
Note: if you want more on this album, please listen to AVONMORE: THE REMIX ALBUM.
1 stars = Ignore it
2 stars = risk it
3 stars = borrow or buy it
4 stars = buy it and keep it
5 stars = buy, keep, and treasure it