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Artist: Bryan Ferry
Touring with Roxy Music last summer was exactly what Bryan Ferry needed to revive his creative drive translated to his latest release Frantic, the follow-up to 1999’s As Time Goes By. Unlike that record’s look at sounds from the 1930s, Frantic picks up where 1994’s Mamouna left off. The record features a delicate blend of Ferry’s clever sensibilities, coupled with several all star collaborations, his ability to write clever and engaging songs, and a wise choice of covers.
Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” kicks off Frantic with Ferry’s smooth crooning paying tribute to the troubadour’s signature snarl. Ferry gives a second nod to Dylan with “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” during which he marvelously annunciates the song’s timeless lyrics, and also shows off his harmonica skills over Colin Good’s spirited piano backing. Ferry also takes a jazzy stab at Don Nix’s blues favorite “Goin’ Down,” while giving Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” a tender and emotional reworking.
Even more attention is worthy of cuts like “I Thought,” “Fool For Love,” and “Hiroshima.” The first features co-writing assistance from original Roxy music member and famed producer/solo artist Brian Eno with the second featuring Roxy Music drummer Paul Thompson (who also backs Ferry for “Goddess of Love” and “San Simeon”). “Hiroshima” (inspired by the film “Hiroshima Mon Amour”) stands out even more, thanks to the lush guitar work of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Ferry’s spellbinding vocal delicacy.
Nearly every tune on Frantic will reveal a fresh side of Ferry, proving his ingenuity is long from running out. The fact that Frantic is not as experimental as the early Roxy Music days yet not nearly as accessible as his commercially viable Boys and Girls record, provides a hearty middle ground for fans of each period. Ferry remains the king of style and a purveyor of timeless material that will be with us long after the flash in the pan pre-fabricated one hit wonders that are currently (and in many cases ignorantly) occupying his chart space.
Andy Argyrakis 7/15/2002