Bryan Ferry Slinks Home The 69-year-old singer returns to the brooding style he pioneered with Roxy Music in the 1970s and early '80s — and the result is some of his best solo work.
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Bryan Ferry Slinks Home

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Bryan Ferry Slinks Home

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Music Reviews

Bryan Ferry Slinks Home

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Bryan Ferry is best known as the front man of the art rock band Roxy Music in the 1970s and early '80s. This week, with his new solo album "Avonmore," Ferry returns to his brooding style from that period. Reviewer Tom Moon says it's some of Ferry's best solo work.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOOP DE LI")

TOM MOON, BYLINE: That opening groove might as well be a welcome home sign.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOOP DE LI")

BRYAN FERRY: (Singing) You wake up. Where are you? What's on your mind? Confusion. Can't face it. You close your eyes.

MOON: Here comes Bryan Ferry, now 69 years old, casting himself as the leading man in another murky, slightly mysterious passion play. It's probably not an accident that this album's title, "Avonmore" echoes that of the 1982 Roxy Music classic "Avalon." The new work is cut from the same swanky cloth.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AVALON")

FERRY: (Singing) Life takes you by surprise like the colors I see dancing in your eyes. Lost in the middle of a storm.

MOON: Ferry's songs conjure exotic atmospheres. At different times, you might feel heat shimmering off pavement or shadows moving across blank walls.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOLDIER OF FORTUNE")

FERRY: (Singing) I'm a prince of illusions all spinning around in my brain. There's a mockingbird calling. And this is what he's saying...

MOON: The songs address the euphoria of love and its sad aftermath. The words can seem routine. The art is in the delivery. Ferry uses a shorthand of whispers and smoldering asides to tell his stories. He's often waiting, warily, for the next the knife twist in a romance.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOLDIER OF FORTUNE")

FERRY: (Singing) Girl stop rockin'. You're driving me insane. I'm going out of my mind. And I won't be back again.

MOON: That same character turns up on an eerie rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEND IN THE CLOWNS")

FERRY: (Singing) Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer? Losing my timing this late in my career? Where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns.

MOON: "Avonmore" isn't uniformly captivating. On a few songs, it relies on repetition a little too much. But this is classic Bryan Ferry, and his sultry, hypnotic allure sustains from start to finish.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AVONMORE")

FERRY: (Singing) I want a love that's never ending.

SIEGEL: Bryan Ferry's new album is "Avonmore." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AVONMORE")

FERRY: (Singing) But there's no sense in pretending. I know I'll never fall in love again.

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