BRYAN FERRY-OLYMPIA-Love Is Still The Drug-cd review by john emms


If an album can be direct and still contain tons of  gorgeous layers  that are waiting to be discovered then  Bryan Ferry’s latest new work Olympia is that recording.

For fans of Roxy Music and fans of Ferry’s solo years this is an album that delivers on the promise that Ferry along with David Bowie has always been a very cinematic composer.

Olympia goes to a lot of sonic places. The bottom heavy groove that jumps out on You Can Dance is as intoxicating as the atmospheric Me Oh My that mixes Ferry’s  killer vocal with David Gilmour’s guitar work which in turn is surrounded by violins and cellos.

Of course what makes the album as direct as the sun  is Ferry’s voice.  In all of rock n’ roll his is one of the most unique and fullest on the planet. In fact,  just check out the timbre on the closing number Tender is the Night. Wow 

On the audio side Bob Clermountain’s mix has to be heard to be believed, and that goes for the entire album.

Ferry also unites with the Scissor Sisters on the Roxy-esque dynamic Heartache by  Numbers.  That along with the funky track BF Bass (ode to Olympia) shows Ferry grooving away with fellow Roxy Music bandmates Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera. This song proves that in Ferry’s world Love Is Still the Drug  even now in the Facebook/YouTube era

Ferry’s vocal lines act like another instrument and easily become part of the ambience as they slide around the bass of Marcus Miller and Phil Manzanera’s other wordly guitar tone on the track Reason or Rhyme.

Easily one of the best tracks and soon to be a certifiable classic is Ferry’s cover of  Traffic’s No Face, No Shame, No Number which features the eloquent guitar of Chris Spedding.  Also  under cover if you happen to get the iTunes or deluxe version of the disc is  Ferry’s startling falsetto as it sits atop a very hip arrangement of John Lennon’s Whatever Gets You Through The Night.

At 65 years of age Bryan Ferry is as cool as he was when he fronted Roxy Music in 1973. How many artists can say that? The list is short my friends

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show host.  Later this month hear Bryan Ferry’s new cd as well as other great music on John’s hit radio show here http://emms.podbean.com/

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November 2010

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