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Album review: Bryan Ferry, "Olympia"

bryan ferryBryan Ferry is back to sounding like himself. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)

By Allison Stewart

Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry's last album was 2007's "Dylanesque," a strange and lizardly assortment of Dylan covers recorded, or so it would seem, at 3 a.m. in the louchest club in St. Tropez.

His new disc, "Olympia," revives Bryan Ferry's love affair with . . . Bryan Ferry. His second album of original material in 15 years, it's vintage, if not necessarily classic, Ferry -- funky, slippery, preternaturally mellow. A low-energy mix of lounge pop, Euro-disco, overly constructed funk and oddly soothing techno, "Olympia" also serves as an ad hoc Roxy Music reunion, gathering almost all of Ferry's former bandmates (even Brian Eno), though rarely on the same track.

Also contributing: Jonny Greenwood, David Gilmour, Flea, the Scissor Sisters and Groove Armada, the latter two emphasizing the tremendous debt present-day electro and dance pop bands owe Ferry, and adding to the impression that the busy, production-heavy "Olympia" is some sort of pop art clown car.

The Scissor Sisters' "Heartache by Numbers" is a nicely done, if standard-issue, club track; Groove Armada's thumping "Shameless" (already familiar from its appearance on the duo's "Black Light" album) is equally appealing, though it's shellacked almost out of existence, brought low by the same heavy coating of studio gloss that threatens to choke most every song here. No track suffers more than "Song to the Siren," a shiny, swirling, incomprehensibly busy cover of the 1970 Tim Buckley number that lacks nothing but character.

Recommended tracks: "Shameless," "You Can Dance"

By Allison Stewart  | October 26, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Bryan Ferry  
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Next: Album review: Kylesa, "Spiral Shadow"


I have another album for you to review if you are interested. Please email

Posted by: CamiD | October 26, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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