Ferry Gets To Your Mind (Melody Maker Album Review 1977) - Sat 19th Feb

Ferry Gets To Your Mind (Melody Maker Album Review 1977)
19 February 1977

BRYAN FERRY: "In Your Mind" (Polydor 2302 055). Bryan Ferry (vocals), Chris Spedding, Phil Manzanera, Neil Hubbard, John Porter (guitars), Paul Thompson (drums), John Wetton (bass), Ann Odell, David Skinner (keyboards), Mel Collins, Chris Mercer, Martin Drover (horns), Ray Cooper, Morris Pert (percussion), Frankie Collins, Paddie McHugh, Dyan Birch, Jacquie Sullivan, Helen Chapelle, Doreen Chanter and Preston Hayward (backing vocals). Produced by Bryan Ferry and Steve Nye. Recorded at Air Studios, London. Engineered by Steve Nye assisted by Ross Collum and Nigel Walker.
BRYAN Ferry's recent London concerts at the Royal Albert Hall provoked me to announce enthusiastically that I would be surprised if I enjoyed a performance by any other British artist as much again this year. I'd now like to take the opportunity to say that, having been presented with the manifold delights of "In Your Mind," I'll be quite amazed if any of Ferry's contemporaries produce an album to rival its compelling excellence.
You get the impression that I like the platter?
Well, you're very perceptive: I happen to be of the opinion, in fact, that "In Your Mind" represents some of the most impressive statements that Bryan Ferry has yet achieved. It's a spirited, adventurous, dynamic, at times fiercely emotional album, superbly performed by a selection of some of the finest musicians currently available in British rock.
There is, in this collection, the fire, humour and energy that surfaced only intermittently on the later Roxy Music recordings. Ferry, exerting complete artistic control over the composition, arranging and production of the album, has assumed the individuality and zest inevitably subdued in the compromise of working with a group like Roxy, where each member was determined to express his musical personality so forcefully.
Which is not to suggest that Ferry entirely dominates this album: its success must be attributed to his orchestration of the musicians involved, from whom he has coaxed performances of considerable power and invention. Chris Spedding, particularly, emerges from this project with a reputation [unclear] of this country's finest guitarists even further enhanced.
His fearless solo on the current single, "This is Tomorrow", you will already have heard and it's matched and surpassed everywhere on the remaining seven tracks that constitute "In Your Mind". It might be argued that he's the perfect musical accomplice for Ferry, complementing the versatility and disparate emotions of the various songs with unassuming pertinence.
The songs, as one might expect of Ferry, are finely crafted affairs. I must say, though, that I'm impressed by their extrovert and occasionally explicit nature. "Tokyo Joe," for instance, is a composition of the kind Ferry has not written since "Beauty Queen", say, or "Editions of You": it's a robust and vivacious portrait of an oriental hooker, with a flamboyant Ferry vocal and exotic instrumentation.
The song's lyric is wonderfully fanciful and humorous: "GI boys howlin' out for more/VIPs purrin' 'je t'adore' ".
A similarly extrovert mood pervades both "Party Doll" (an intriguing deviant fantasy, the theme of which recalls the more sinister "In Every Dream Home a Heartache") and "Love Me Madly Again", a venomous reflection of a past affair with a savage musical setting featuring Spedding at his most virulent and incisive, soloing over Ann O’Dell's dramatic string arrangement.
"One Kiss" - surely one of Ferry's finest songs - again takes as its theme the failure of a romance. Here, however, the dominant mood is one of regret and confusion: its construction and scenario are reminiscent of Harper's "Another Day", with the singer leaving, with reluctance, an old lover with memories of their romance painfully vivid.
It's challenged, as the album's singular masterpiece, only by the title track, one of the most immediately impressive tracks Ferry has recorded.
As I've mentioned previously, "In Your Mind" has the kind of emotional gravity and sense of grandeur that graced Roxy's "Mother of Pearl" but here the effect is even more stirring.
It's virtually an anthem for the liberation of the romantic imagination, with Ferry intoning the lyric over a militaristic riff that grows in intensity as the song develops to a resounding climax, Spedding leading the assault over the imposing force of Wetton and Thompson's unrelenting rhythms.
But enough of this: just go out and buy the damn record and play it and enjoy it. That's why it was made, after all.

Allan Jones
Melody Maker, 19th February 1977

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