Bryan Ferry and his Orchestra
BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited
If there was ever an artist that would know perfectly how to, er, “remake / remodel” oneself, it was always going to Bryan Ferry, right? First obvious proof – beyond his dapper, debonair, noir-meets-ageless charms and music and approach – it was the late-90s set of jazz-era evoking covers, As Time Goes By.
More recently, more overtly, there was the formation of the Bryan Ferry Orchestra and the album and then tour where instrumental renditions of Roxy and solo staples were served up in full wax-museum jazz-era glory.
So now it’s time for our hero to step up to the 360-degree cylindrical mic, his orchestra in tow, his songs packed, spruced.
Alphaville and Reason or Rhyme get us started, a rhythmic plunking of banjo, a waft of trumpet, that crooning coo, ageless, blameless as this lounge-lizard lothario walks back through the Bitter-Sweet Limbo; Dances Away down back-alleys of songs that are 30 and 40 years old but sound brand new and also as old as the hills. All at once and forever.
It’s gorgeous, perfectly formed, correct, believable, and in keeping with Ferry’s Style Over But Never Completely Above Content approach it also feels like silly-fun; the perfect dramatic folly.
Some of the big hits et looked at but more often it’s about a new time and place for an old song setting, a chance to look and listen anew to some wonderfully framed melodies and memories – New Town gets a wee Charleston shuffle to wiggle around inside, While My Heart Is Still Beating is everything Hugh Laurie would love to be doing with his musical career but just, you know, can’t. Quite.
Dance Away hints back to that first Bryan Ferry Orchestra album – and the brilliant use of it on the soundtrack to the Leo-starring Great Gatsby (make that the only great thing about that Gatsby) – and works here as a mid-album interlude, an instrumental that wafts and drifts and struts with a po-faced swagger.
I also love the European romance of Sea Breezes, the Brechtian, Brel-like Zamba, the softly sashaying Bitters End and the Scott Walker-lite Boys and Girls.
There’s so much here to love. It flows as effortless, as near-endlessly as you’d both hope and expect.
You can support Off The Tracks via PressPatron