Picks and Pans Review: Mamouna
updated 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
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)