Brian Ferry - Olympia
"Olympia" seemed destined for the ridicule circuit. While Boomers have prepared us for the sight of 60-somethings singing of sex, Brian Ferry would offer a particularly queasy example. Long one of the smoothest MFs in pop music, whose steamy glam while solo or with Roxy Music put lesser lights to shame with his romantic predation. The thought of him trying to once more roll out the coke, sherry and condoms would seem grotesque. That this record has Kate Moss on the cover, an echo of old provocative RM covers and some attempt to stay currently hip, did not help. But shazam, the geezer pulled it off (as it were). "Olympia" is as smoky, elegant and transgressive as any Roxy Music record, and Ferry's voice still remains smooth, with occasional crags only adding to the world-weariness.
The club hit "You Can Dance" kicks things off, followed by a gritty "Aphaville." The classy-dirty "Shameless" and "Me Oh My" round out the best originals. Two covers stand out: Traffic's "No Face, No Name, No Number" is stunning and memorable, while the much hyped take on Tim Buckley's "Song To the Siren," is less successful.
Along for the ride are the likes of Nile Rodgers, David Gilmour, and Flea, though the real news is that Roxy alums Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera were also in the studio, yet none really made their presence felt.
No matter. Brian Ferry proves to still be able to provide enough presence to fill a few rooms. "Olympia" is a surprisingly in form release for Ferry, and is a solid, smoky dance record to boot. Ferry builds off of, rather than trades off his legacy, for which more credit is his due.
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