INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Blurt NOVEMBER 15, 2010 - by Lee Zimmerman
BRYAN FERRY: OLYMPIA
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 mesmerising and majestic.
Still, the headline for Olympia has more to do with who's aiding in this endeavour. 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 colour much of the material. As for Ferry himself, he remains a class act, and with Olympia, he hits new heights.