Who’s that cocaine addict on the front cover, and what has he done with Bryan Ferry? Do I need 3D glasses to see it? With In Your Mind, our favourite Geordie Londoner largely turns his back on the sense of mystery and atmosphere that Roxy did so well, even though the usual suspects (Manzanera, Wetton) are all over it.
Whenever he had done anything on his own, it was the R’n'B stuff, the saxophones and the singalongs, that came most naturally to him, and there’s certainly plenty of that here. One Kiss is a prime example, an air of sadness pervading its boozy, brassy excesses, Ferry slurring his way through proceedings.
All Night Operator is the cover that never was, which is perhaps a testament to Ferry’s songwriting craft. “Am I just a number to you? A handful of empty sighs?” asks Ferry, which would probably constitute sexual harassment these days. Nevertheless, it’s got a lovely horn (much like its singer) and it’s rather nice to listen to. It’s when he tries to push the boat about, like in the overly busy This Is Tomorrow, that the instruments crash together in a not altogether pleasing way. I don’t know why people suddenly developed an obsession with overly screechy female backing singers in the late 70s, but I thank God I wasn’t alive to witness it first-hand.
Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, there is a song on a record that is so gosh darn good it kind of puts all the other songs to shame. On In Your Mind, it is undoubtedly Love Me Madly Again, seven and a half minutes of pure orchestral perfection. Oh alright, it also sounds like a Roxy Music song, but I’m no fan-boy – I must have listened to his covers album These Foolish Things far more often than “masterpieces” like Country Life. Anyway, it has pretty much everything: a growling Ferry spitting out lyrics like “Do ya make savage love when you meet”, a melt-in-the-mouth slide guitar, and a lovely breakdown bit in the middle which is apparently provided to us by Ann Odell (from her website:” the finest jazz music in Surrey”). He even does the quivery voice thing in a few places.
It’s a shame that it’s a novelty, Tokyo Joe, that was the single, given that it sounds nothing like the rest of the album. If you can get past the oh-so-stereotypical lyrics and orchestration, which is pretty much the whole song, there’s a decent melody to be found, but unless you’re a Carl Douglas fan it’s probably best to give it a miss. Then comes some filler, Party Doll, which is pretty inexcusable given that it’s only an 8-track LP.
Rock of Ages lurches dangerously towards gospel but saved by some nice soulful singing and crunching saxes. The title track closes off the album with a bit of a chug, going for that epic last song feel, but never getting anything close to the climax of say, Just Another High. Overall, In Your Mind is an incredibly curious album, lost to the sands of time, wedged in between Roxy’s first break-up and triumphant return. It seems to be content to go over old musical ground, and yet throws in a couple of curveballs to placate Roxy fans baying for blood – a mix that made Ferry’s solo career kick off with a whimper rather than the bang he deserved (oo-er).