Picks and Pans Review: Mamouna

updated 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bryan Ferry

The former front man for Roxy Music returns with his evocative and ambiguous style intact. Ferry has always embodied a very British brand of tortured reserve. His manner in turn gives his music a distinctive stamp, that of sophisticated, drawing-room soul, of starchy, formal funk.

That paradoxical formula is best displayed on this album's guitar crunchers—"Don't Want to Know," "The 39 Steps" and the "Shaft"-like shuffle of the title track—songs in which there is a palpable tension between Ferry's quirkily elegant delivery and the music's robust, simmering grooves. Ferry's weepy, quavering voice also lends a couple of the slower songs, "Your Painted Smile" and "Which Way to Turn," an oddly hypnotic quality.

As deliciously idiosyncratic as ever, Bryan Ferry is one wan romantic. (Virgin)

From Our Partners