Poolside with Roxy Music (and all of Avalon)
Ended the summer with this. Now it's Indian Summer, and instead of my usual descent into death metal obsessions, I've moved more towards autumnal sophito-pop. Elegant '80s excess (carved in svelte pop songs). Here's to ending the Poolside season with an end of the summer record, an album that plays when it can, poolside at the Country Club pool (thinkin' bout Ivy League, maybe Oxford/Oxfam) and the overhang has about 40% change, causing huge Oak leaves to litter the water. I'm sure if you want this feeling, a John Hughes film (seasonally 16 Candles or Breakfast Club works best) or maybe seeing any prep-school pulp (Never Let Me Go?) will satiate. Bryan Ferry, little did I ever noticed, perpetually this nostalgic aura post-Roxy-weird.
How did I not know about Avalon? I know "More Than This," but always thought it an '80s fluke, a la Godley and Creme's (of 10cc) "Why" -- somewhere among the Roxy Music biography I stopped reading. Perhaps, following ENO (even if I know better/worse). It's never occurred to me that Bryan Ferry was the direct inspiration of the "new romantic" and Avalon was his sincere mock of the whole lot. Avalon may even surpass ABC's Look of Love, except it's glaringly less pompous, not a speck of glitter in sight. Ferry commands it all with a superhuman cool, aware those that still followed him, Andy McKay/Phil Manzanera, survived thanks to telekinesis. There is a strand of this romanticism, sophisto-pop that may or may not be defined by Avalon. A colleague of mine tends to be the foremost scholar on the subject. Read it. Learn. "Oblivious." Jeez.
But on Avalon the horns aren't fake, Mckay implants a smoky/sultry sax in only the necessary folds. Ferry's synths are supreme, second only to his confident-yet-resigned, dramatic-yet-indifferent, croon. His voice invented Martin Fry, invented Spandau Ballet. "Gold" ? Love it. But it's Bryan Ferry turned up to 11. Correct?
Avalon's secret weapon is Manzanera's exquisite guitar playing. His co-writing credit on "Take a Chance With Me" is comparable to the candy-radio-pop of the era and big bright anthems of the decade before from ELO and Fleetwood Mac. When he's called on for airy, watered-in, or flimsy floss work, he performs in the same light as Ferry, like pro, like he invented the guitars that skitter "Perfect Way" and Go West.
I'm now on a search. Thank god Alfred Soto can school you on Roxy. This is some required listening. If you like saxaphones?
Poolside is closed until Spring. Look for Friday Jams.
Sub. Ref. poolside