Picking up where her last record left off, Alison Moyet pairs up with producer Guy Sigsworth for her ninth album, an intensely thrilling tour de force

Other

Cooking Vinyl
5/5

Suddenly the landscape has changed,” sang Alison Moyet as 2013’s The Minutes got underway, and it was true. In producer Guy Sigsworth, she’d finally found someone who understood how to best exploit the dark power of her voice, cloaking it in rich electronic arrangements and matching its passion with drama. Four years later, on Other’s opening track I Germinate, this remains true.

Moyet seems reborn, overflowing with confidence, her melodies as strong as any she’s sculpted, her lyrics ingeniously weighty. She is also accompanied by some of the most pristine, formidable music of her career, but – with all due respect to Sigsworth – it’s Moyet’s words that demand most attention.

Eloquent and expressive, they reveal a woman revelling in both her environment and her articulacy. Though she belittles her strengths on the gorgeous The English U – ironically with pithy wit like: “I want to know the comma/ Though I neglect to honour/ Every breath implied/ Uncertain of its need” – it’ll be a while before we stumble on anything so poetic.

So compelling are her words, she recites to us rather than sings on April 10th, conjuring up arresting images of “Fog, like boiled wool, felt-tight”.

Elsewhere, her luxurious vocals are perfectly suited to descriptions of “a crocus offering saffron token” on the grandiose I Germinate, or loaded observations such as the delicate title track’s “Don’t want another rock to hang about my neck/ You see bejewelled/ I see bedecked in dead stars”.

On the energetic Happy Giddy, a big budget throwback to Yazoo, her mood is lighter as she mocks social media culture: “Find your life online/ Emoji man”. However, on Beautiful Gun she converts this flippancy to grotesque sarcasm (“You’ve got a gun-toting gait/ That’s a walk that I rate”), while guitars wail behind her.

Those holding onto the Alf of All Cried Out and That Ole Devil Called Love might be surprised by elements of Other, but the majority will feel invigorated. Moyet still addresses romance on Lover, Go, where rich synths are matched, unexpectedly, by a baroque harpsichord line, and she is sweet as syrup on Alive.

Throughout it is her individuality that radiates strongest. As she puts it so exquisitely on Other: “I cut out whichever shape I need… I’m as free as I have ever been.”

 

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