RUSSIAN ROULETTE #1 | Bryan Ferry – Sensation

IN WHICH we take the Rogue jukebox for a test drive by loading up nearly 50,000 tracks and spinning the wheel to reveal a song at random. It could be good, it could be bad. It could just be a bunch of crazed animal noises, though we’re pretty sure we deleted that album long ago…

Anyway, on with the show – let’s spin that wheel!

ARTIST: Bryan Ferry

TRACK: Sensation

ALBUM: Boys and Girls

YEAR: 1985

This opening track sets the mood for Ferry’s first post-Roxy Music solo album, though this is his sixth in all.

Whereas previous efforts largely comprised hammily ululated covers of classic pop and r’n’b songs, Boys and Girls picks up where Roxy left off, adding a louche nocturnal twist to Avalon‘s satin sumptuousness.

Similar in vibe, tempo and texture to the hits ‘Slave To Love’ and ‘Don’t Stop The Dance’ (also featured on Boys and Girls), ‘Sensation’ sees Bryan crooning vampishly over a mid-tempo new wave beat.

The backing track is pure Roxy, although that’s Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour creating those Eno-esque textures on guitar, while the bass prowls around like a panther that somehow found its way into the city night.

‘Sensation’ and the Boys And Girls album secrete an air thick with cologne, hairspray and cigarette smoke. Lashings of lipstick mark the rim of every spilt cocktail glass while residual tracks of various powders and sexual mucus are dashed liberally over fine art-deco furniture. And all one can do is sit and reflect eternally on exactly how it feels to have finally become so inhuman – so God-like – revelling in the aftermath of some new and terrible kind of hangover.

A master of deception, Bryan’s appeal from the beginning had always been his ambiguity. From the eerie, androgynous models bedecking Roxy’s various album covers, to the sinisterly glamorous mood of his music; exactly how this seedy artform could be borne out of the rough industrial wastes of 1970’s Sheffield is anyone’s guess.

words by Charlie Frame