Thursday, 11 October 2018

Bryan Ferry - Boys And Girls (1985)


  

Released June 1985

This was the album which saw Bryan Ferry cement the laid-back, slick, immaculately produced smooth brand of lounge bar rock that would take him from 1985 to the present day. The album stands as probably one of the best of the many that he has put out since then. The musicianship and indeed the sound quality is exemplary, (Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour and Nile Rodgers appear on the album) setting standards in hi-fi quality for the time. It still sounds great today, its easy rhythms washing over you gently, drawing you in, siren-like, as Ferry’s distinctive, mellifluous vocals float over the intoxicating rhythms.

The big hits that everyone knows are “Slave To Love" and “Don’t Stop The Dance”, both full of that effortless groove and vibe that became so representative of Bryan Ferry’s sound. Gone was the Roxy Music-stye innovation and experimentation, it was easy wine bar background music all the way. It is to do it a bit of a disservice to label it just as “background music”, even though that is what it became, because the sound is a type of perfection - addictive percussion and underpinning guitar sounds, gentle bass and sumptuous, insistent keyboards.

The image Ferry puts over is one of the smooth, cool, debonair lover - knowing, attentive, a connoisseur of fine things, art, literature, music and wine, yet slightly detached, distant, aloof and not a little melancholic. “Don’t Stop The Dance” has a gentle samba-type rhythm, or is it rhumba? The saxophone interjections are never intrusive. This, and tracks like “Sensation” and “Windswept” (another with some sumptuous, seductive saxophone and touches of Spanish guitar and castanets) are all very European, very cultured and urban. Like a posh evening out in Paris, Brussels, Madrid or Milan, the album playing in the taxi as the street lights flash by. It is not surprising that Ferry has always been really popular in Europe.

Mark Knopfler's guitar is superbly atmospheric on "Valentine" and "Stone Woman" has that Grace Jones Parisian feel, such as on "I've Seen That Face Before". The title track has a sumptuous, dignified, bassy ambience and a seductive, sensual, beguiling vocal from Ferry.

The album, like many of Ferry’s efforts from this one onwards, suffers a bit from no real change in pace or ambience throughout. There is nothing raw or edgy about it, but it has one hell of an air of mystery. A companion for Sade’s “Diamond Life” as a real symbol of the 1984-1986 zeitgeist. Just check out that infectious rhythm on “The Chosen One” or the totally delicious "Stone Woman" and let your mind, memories and fantasies drift.

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