Bryan Ferry's latest tinkles and shimmers and shimmies and hints at sequins...
  • Bryan Ferry's latest tinkles and shimmers and shimmies and hints at sequins...
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"Avonmore"

Lead single from Bryan Ferry's new record

Lead single from Bryan Ferry's new record

Just for fun, try singing this set’s “Send in the Clowns” along with Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening,” or versa vice. Pretty much the same song, yeah? Gets me each time around. Ferry, of course, pours on heavy syrup, backward-dragging noises, peaked vocal stacks, leaning out of the short phrases (constructed for an actress who couldn’t sustain notes), then down, firm, on final syllables. Robert Palmer’s “Johnny & Mary,” right after, piles so many ’80s synth poses, I was shocked to find that Palmer’s original used so many more! Ferry brings the genteel bass boom, the sequencer, reverb demanding its own postal code, then rasp-whispers even more raspy than the rest of this. And that fits. The couple, caught in parallel compromises — insufficiently fulfilling to call “contrasts” — and the forced common ground in the music. Palmer came through rinky-dink on his own take, a bored kid Sunday afternoon. Ferry, still alive, sings their porcupine alliance ’til death do them part.

The rest? It tinkles and shimmers and shimmies and hints at sequins, but it’s a bit like putting a pot on to boil and spacing the soul stew. Ferry uses up to nine guitarists on a single track; maybe he missed the forest for the cord twists, clearcutting all ampbuzz. Decaying sublimely (up with the rasp, down with the whisper), he still sings like twined collegiate suppliants struggling to climax and still not wake up their roommates. Only school’s out. Forever?

Album: Avonmore
Artist: Bryan Ferry
Label: BMG
Songs: (1) Loop De Li (2) Midnight Train (3) Soldier of Fortune (4) Driving Me Wild (5) A Special Kind of Guy (6) Avonmore (7) Lost (8) One Night Stand (9) Send in the Clowns (10) Johnny & Mary

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