Roxy Music's final album marked a major turning point in their musical style. Roxy dropped their 70s punk in favor of the slick, suave sound of the early 80s, heavily lacing it with synthies. Avalon probably ranks among the most laid back recordings of this era. The compositions bear all the hallmarks of Bryan "Mr. Hairgel" Ferry's smooth style, which he maintained throughout his subsequent solo career.
There isn't a single frantic moment on here, yet it never gets boring. Avalon exudes a dreamy, ethereal beauty and elegance all the way. It also exhibits a remarkably rich and complex sonic texture, particuarly in the percussion -- a refreshing change from the standard Rock'n'Roll and New Wave fare of the day.
The title track with its unforgettable female vocal is a New Romantic signature tune. Catchy, funky tunes such as The Main Thing (whatever that might refer to) and The Space Between (between what?) liven things up just in case you doze off. The crooning is complemented by two short instrumentals, India and Tara, the latter coinciding as the closing track, fading out (rather engimatically) with the sound of crashing waves.
And then there's the sprawling Take a Chance with Me, my fave track on here by far. Starting off in a creepy almost infernal atonality, it segues into one of Roxy's most exuberant compositions, its refrain literally bursting with synth gushes, only to meander into atonality again until it abruptly ends (no fade). Weird, but brilliant.
There is though, just for the record, (what I consider) a weaker track, namely To Turn You On. It strikes me as corny, uninspired, and trite. Who cares if it's raining in New York and he'd do anything to turn us on?
Avalon is an 80s gem to enjoy in those quiet moments. A must have classic!