Avalon

Roxy Music

Reprise Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Scott Floman

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/16/1997

No longer really a rock band, on Avalon Roxy Music deliver an understated, polished gem that influenced many 80's acts. With guitarist Phil Manzanera, saxophone player Andy MacKay, and principal songwriter and lead singer Bryan Ferry remaining from the original Roxy Music lineup, Avalon proved to be an elegant swan song.

"Much communication in a motion, without conversation or a motion," croons Ferry in the title track, and this mood of mysterious romanticism is featured throughout the album. Manzanera's restrained, melodic guitar and MacKay's lovely sax provide the graceful backdrop for Ferry's suave declarations of love (and lust), such as when he states "the space between us better close up tonight."my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"More Than This," "The Space Between" and "Avalon" start things off perfectly. Each song is catchy but mellow, and the spacious production suits Ferry's cocktail lounge musings. This atmosphere is briefly interrupted by the instrumental "India" (really just a break in the action), before returning for the mournful "While My Heart Is Still Beating," on which Ferry asks "all of those people everywhere, ever so needing, where's it all leading?"

The funky "The Main Thing" recalls David Bowie, while "Tara" is a beautiful sax showcase for MacKay. "To Turn You On" ("I'd do anything to turn you on") is another sumptuous showcase for Ferry the desperate romantic, and "True To Life" tells a quiet, lonely story propelled by timely guitar thrusts.

On "Take A Chance With Me" Ferry admits "in my time too much love has made me sad for so long." He just doesn't know any other way, though. "Heaven knows, I believe you can take a chance with me," he pleads, before defiantly adding "all the world, even you, should learn to live the way I do."

Throughout Avalon, Ferry adds distinct keyboard and synthesizer textures, along with some exotic percussion and prominent backup singers. If I have a warning about the album, it would be merely that such a subtle and polished album requires a certain mood to be fully appreciated, like when night is at hand and the lights are dim. Under such circumstances Avalon is an irresistibly classy pop album that seems bound to endure. Though Ferry has spent his subsequent solo career trying to duplicate this album's understated excellence (remember "Slave To Love?"), there's no substituting for the original.

Rating: A-

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© 1997 Scott Floman and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.