Album Review: Bryan Ferry – Olympia

By on Thursday, 28th October 2010 at 12:00 pm

This year saw the reunion of influential ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music, unexpectedly performing at several major festivals this summer. (I was dying to see them at Lovebox.) They even have an arena tour scheduled for early 2011. Years ago when I first became a Duranie, I quickly and more than willingly became ensconced by the glamour and fashion of what Roxy Music represented to Duran Duran and how it affected the Brum group’s sound and aesthetic.

The coolest cat of them all, effortlessly sexy in a well-tailored Antony Price suit crooning ‘Love is the Drug’, was the man out in front. Bryan Ferry. Before Roxy Music ‘reunited’ as it were, he had been soldiering on solo with some degree of success after Roxy disbanded in 1983. This week he released his thirteen album, ‘Olympia’, and it’s nice to get some new material finally, since his 2007 effort ‘Dylanesque’, as the name suggests, was just a load of Bob Dylan covers. Snore.

There is a dancey, urban vibe that run through many of these songs from ‘Olympia’ – ‘Oh My My’, ‘Alphaville’, ‘BF Bass [Ode to Olympia]’. Probably the best tracks on the album – and most timeless Ferry – are ‘Heartache by Numbers’, his vocals married with a gorgeous chorus, and ‘No Face, No Name, No Number’, a tender ballad allowing a somewhat unanticipated peek into the innermost feelings of a man who for many years was one of England’s most desirable bachelors. And let us not forget the album closer, ‘Tender is the Night’: these days, I don’t think Bryan Ferry can go wrong when his voice is accompanied with gentle piano backing. Beautiful.

There is also a Jeff Buckley cover of ‘Song to the Siren’, but really the most surprising offering on this album is ‘Shameless’, a Groove Armada song Ferry added his voice to (this song also appears on the London duo’s album released this year, ‘Black Light’). This just goes to show that even though Bryan Ferry is in his mid-60s (and really, who is still in the business around that age except David Bowie and Rod Stewart?) he’s still as valid as he was as the frontman of Roxy Music back in the day and can collaborate with the best of them. He still knows how to pour emotion into every word and at times, make you want to cry. Ferry is one of those vocalists that I hope I get to see in performance in my lifetime.


To learn more about the recording of the album, you can watch an interview with producers Nile Rodgers (Chic) and Rhett Davies below.



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2 Responses

9:09 pm
3rd November 2010

Your Comments Great review. I (finally!) saw Roxy on their 2001 reunion and they blew me away. I’ve also seen Ferry solo a bunch of times and he is truly the MAN. Can’t wait to get the new album in the mail. 🙂


11:48 pm
3rd November 2010

Lucky you Glenn! I am holding out hope that since there’s a UK reunion tour there will also be an American one. fingers crossed and thank you for the compliments 🙂

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