Much of Olympia (2011) came from the sessions of what would have been Roxy Music’s reunion album – a full reunion, including Brian Eno – announced as such some five years earlier, and as such, generating a fair amount of trepidation. Eventually, Bryan Ferry decided the reunion wasn’t such a good idea after all, and the material was remodelled.
It was the right decision. Echoes of Roxy notwithstanding, Olympia was very much his album, and none the worse for that. Getting Ferry, Eno, Manzanera and McKay back together in the lab still produces something pretty special, but the reaction that gave us Virginia Plain (1972) would have been impossible to recreate: after 40 years of changes to its elements, it would be insane to expect the formula to yield the same results. That is fine: Virginia Plain is still here, as are Roxy Music (also 1972), Pyjamarama and For Your Pleasure (both 1973), regularly remastered and reissued, readily available. They need no re-making or re-modelling; in fact, it would have been offensive for Roxy to get back together and rehash their early work. Reviving Roxy Music would only have made sense were they to have returned with something as revolutionary as the first time around.