A new listener to Bryan Ferry would think it’s outdated. The people who know his music with Roxy Music would just know it’s him. The new listeners might call the album dated. In actuality, there are hints at Ferry at his best and other glimpses at something a little more underwhelming. Nothing is bad, it’s just kind of boring on Avonmore.
“Driving Me Wild” is a subdued track that still has a swagger to it. The lyrics are nothing special, but the track itself works. “You’re driving me wild” repeats throughout the entire chorus and the vocals are layered with the same monotonous and speak-style with each passing line. “One Night Stand” is almost the same except for the addition of female background vocals. And a sax.
There are a few tracks that standout from the lineup. Ferry penned all but two of the tracks. “Send In The Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim and “Johnny & Mary” by Robert Palmer. Both tracks that seem out the ordinary, but both have been reshaped and arranged to fit the style. “Send In The Clowns” was penned for A Little Night Music in 1973, but gets a modern synth-y facelift on Avonmore. The tune is meant to be nostalgic and ultimately heartbreaking as Desiree sings about the love she cannot have, but Ferry’s version lacks that emotion.
Other tracks like “Loop De Li,” “Midnight Train,” and the title track, “Avonmore,” all carry a distinct 70s funk vibe with the same guitar styles. But that’s ultimately the problem. It is what Ferry is good at and known for, but it’s incredibly repetitive. “Soldier of Fortune” is a slower track than the rest, but is also one of the best.
It seems as if it should be a sample platter of genres for Ferry, but ultimately, Avonmore just comes off as too heavy in a small selection.