Friday, 12 October 2018

Bryan Ferry - Bête Noire (1987)

The right stuff....


Released November 1987

Recorded in Paris and The Bahamas

Bryan Ferry’s albums didn’t divert from their easy, slick, smooth course from 1985’s Boys And Girls onwards. This one was pretty much more of the same “wine bar” fare, although there a few subtle differences. It is more than just a Boys And Girls part two, though, being a bit more dance-ish. The music, of course, is of the absolute highest quality.


1. Limbo
2. Kiss And Tell
3. New Town
4. Day For Night
5. Zamba
6. The Right Stuff
7. Seven Deadly Signs
8. The Name Of The Game
9. Bête Noire                                                    

Limbo and Kiss And Tell are slightly more punchy, more drum-driven in a pacier way, but only just. The same laid-back groove is there, but there is a bit more throb to the bass and a bit more urgency to some of the syncopation. This is only a slightly detectable thing, though, just a slight nuance, really, but is definitely there. Listening to the two albums one after the other, you can definitely detect the change. The nonchalance of the previous album is a tad more peppy, more lively, while still retaining that effortless rhythmic groove.

New Town is totally beguiling, Zamba sonorous, mysterious and bassy. The Right Stuff, with its female backing vocals has that degree more of attack and edge that was mentioned earlier, just making it slightly different from the material on the previous album. The backing vocals become innovatory and quirky mid-song, which certainly wouldn’t have happened on Boys And Girls.

Seven Deadly Sins has an absolutely intoxicating, upbeat  rhythm that again carries a new, albeit silky smooth, attack. The Name Of The Game slows down the pace, but it has a certain dignified majesty that is almost ABBA-esque (odd that, because although there is the same title as one of their songs, it is in no way whatsoever a copy). Again, the female backing singers give it a different dimension to previous material.

Bête Noire is a tango-influenced Parisian cafe-style groove that is one of Ferry’s most inventive and seductive tracks. It carries a beautiful bass line too. There is a fair case for this album being a superior album the more commercially-successful Boys and Girls. It has many hidden depths.