Roxy Music’s Avalon gets a pretentious but illuminating overview

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 Roxy Music perform on stage at London’s Wembley Arena during the Avalon tour, on September 22nd, 1982. Photograph: Pete Still/Redferns

Roxy Music perform on stage at London’s Wembley Arena during the Avalon tour, on September 22nd, 1982. Photograph: Pete Still/Redferns

When it comes to classic albums, there can surely be none more sophisticated and seductive than Roxy Music’s Avalon. Released in 1982, it fused Bryan Ferry’s world-weariness with a creamy ambiance that caused hearts to flutter and knees to tremble. It also delivered the kiss-off to 1970s Roxy Music, replacing their arty manic pop thrill with layered music that, if it were a smoking jacket, wouldn’t have a thread out of place.

Roxy Music’s Avalon by Simon A Morrison (33 1/3/Bloomsbury, £10) explores, often quite pretentiously, the background and cultural elements that went into its making. “He is a pleasant conversationalist of old-school reserve and manners,” writes Morrison of a relaxed meal with Ferry in 2013, “willing to indulge the tabloids with a soft-spoken quotation or two, but enigmatic, preferring misinterpretation to soul-baring. That’s fine with me: as a scholar, I’m less interested in the musician than the music.”

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