Album review: Bryan Ferry’s ‘Avonmore’

Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Bryan Ferry Avonmore

At age 69, perpetually dapper Roxy Music auteur Bryan Ferry is refusing to coast on his past. On Avonmore, the silver fox enlisted an impressive gang of collaborators (including Nile Rodgers, Johnny Marr, Mark Knopfler, Flea and Todd Terje) to create music that subtly modernizes his sleek New Romantic synth-pop. And so, while the record’s music hews toward the sound of later-era Roxy albums such as 1980’s Flesh + Blood and 1982’s Avalon—especially its subtle disco-soul rhythmic throbs, fatalistic crooning and layers of romantic keyboards—it also eschews rote nostalgia. The title track is an urgent electronic rush pocked with saxophone, faint strings and arpeggiated guitars; the intimate cover of Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary” boasts futuristic beat sunrises and sparse finger snaps; and the Marr-assisted, seaside folk-blues tune “Soldier of Fortune” contains frail, subdued vocals. On Avonmore Ferry’s muse has once again steered him in the right direction.

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