Bryan Ferry – Olympia

January 01, 1970

(Astralwerks)

www.astralwerks.com

 

Following the breakup of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry’s
solo career found him settled into a comfortable niche, one where heavy lifting
was never really required. Cashing in on his cover songs, he made his
characteristic croon his calling card, an outward manifestation of the smart,
suave lounge lizard image he had fostered early on. Once that persona became
all encompassing, it began to edge out Roxy Music’s more experimental stance.

 

Ferry’s last album, Dylanesque was
no exception, a return to the muse that’s been a staple throughout his career,
specifically, the songs of one Robert Zimmerman. Notably then, Ferry’s upped
the ante this time around, opting for original material with only a pair of
remakes beside. The sound remains similar however, all slick cabaret grooves,
sinewy arrangements and a heady ambiance that amplifies the mystique. Those
aforementioned covers, a soaring version of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren”
and a trippy take on Traffic’s longing ballad “No Face, No Name, No Number,”
push the parameters but don’t necessarily improve on the originals. Indeed,
Ferry’s compositions – the tangled “You Can Dance,” an eerie, amorphous “Tender
Is the Night,” the smooth, seductive “Reason or Rhyme” – are the songs that
stand out, mainly because they bring to mind
Avalon, which was Roxy at their
most mesmerizing and majestic.

 

Still, the headline for Olympia has
more to do with who’s aiding in this endeavor. Ferry’s enlisted an all star
line-up that includes not only A names like
Nile Rodgers, David Gilmour, Groove Armada, the Scissor
Sisters, Marcus Miller, Flea, and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, but several members
of the original Roxy Music as well, specifically Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and
Andy Mackay. Eno is omnipresent throughout in fact, and his additives and
effects color much of the material. As for Ferry himself, he remains a class
act, and with Olympia, he hits new heights.


DOWNLOAD: “Heartache
By Numbers,” “Tender Is the Night,” Song to the Siren” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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