Alison Moyet has a new album out and it is a beautifully paced and realised symphony of melancholia and optimism.
Other demonstrates Moyet’s ability to continually reinvent herself. She has harnessed the contemporary while bringing elements of trip-hop and the symphonic electronics of the late nineties/early 2000’s into her ninth studio album. It is a dazzling collage of lush production, skilled songwriting and pin-point delivery marking this album as one of the year’s highlights already.
The counterpoint of retro-glide synths, sweeping strings and horizon stretching production allows her blues-infused voice to soar and sweep through its full dazzling range. Moyet‘s voice fits easily with a spectrum of styles as shown through her back catalogue and it is here among the dizzying layers that she finds a true space for her incredible voice to radiate.
Teaming up once again with Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Björk, Britney Spears, Alanis Morissette) Moyet continues the exploration of the earlier sound of Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.) and further the dominant electronic sound from 2013’s The Minutes without turning it into an exercise in nostalgia.
“For me, making a record at this age, lyrically, is a different proposition. Observation in most cases replaces emotion. The invisibility of middle/aged woman rather thrills me and instead I watch”, explains Moyet.
“Subject matter covers what you might expect from a pop album. Dyslexia, locked-out syndrome, diversity, Persephone, doggedness and the Internet. Always asked what a song is about, I attempted to cooperate, but in truth though the lyrics incorporated my best attempt to describe what I see and of the meaning that is mine. I want, who chooses to, to find their own landscape or indeed none. Some of us have always felt ‘Other’. I no longer wish it were otherwise.”
Born in Basildon, Essex (hometown of Depeche Mode), Moyet emerged from the punk scene and found herself forming Yazoo in 1981 with just-departed Mode synth wizard and creative force Vince Clarke. Clarke’s unnerving skill for weaving perfect synth-pop and Moyet‘s soulful vocals scored the world-wide hit “Only You” and mainstream success was suddenly thrust upon them.
Yazoo split shortly afterwards and both Moyet and Clarke went on to other projects, Moyet signing a solo deal with Columbia and selling millions with her debut 1984 album Alf.
Further releases followed throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s as she explored lounge, jazz and blues.
In 2013 Alison Moyet signed to Cooking Vinyl and began her writing partnership with Guy Sigsworth. It is an intuitive and exciting partnership which radiates on Other, every song burns with ideas; there’s grandstanding production, poetic melancholia and huge expansive melodies. The ambition is high and it delivers.
Opener “Germinate” is strong and bold arriving in a cluster of drama and wide production. The mix of electronics and lush strings hints at what is to come, showcasing an array of trip hop elements.
“Lover, Go” displays technicolour dynamism, “The English U” is chic lounge-wave, while “Beautiful Gun” evokes the electronic twang of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”.
“Reassuring Pinches” is a stand-out, all retro-wave arpeggios, transforming it into a dark, atmospheric swirler. Title track “Other” is beautiful, plaintive, full of yearning. Moyet’s voice is supreme, cloaked with atmosphere.
“The Rarest Birds” is heady and enveloping. “Happy Giddy” merges IDM production with synth-wave flourishes and Moyet’s pure Yazoo-esque vocals to create a song of flowing forward motion; it actually fizzes and pops like electricity showering from overhead lines. “Alive” closes out a stunning album of varying moods and textures.
Other is Alison Moyet showing she can still play at the top table and has re-interpreted her legacy to remain current, relevant and fresh. She is making exactly the adventurous electronic pop music she wants to at this moment in time, with her voice and songwriting both intense, poetic and thought provoking.
Other will be released on Cooking Vinyl on 16 June, with a world tour to follow taking in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
11 Sept – Sixth and I: Washington DC
12 Sept – The Trocadero Theatre: Philadelphia, PA
13 Sept – Royale, Boston, MA
15 Sept – Webster Hall: New York, NY
17 Sept – The Danforth Music Hall: Toronto, ONT
19 Sept – Park West: Chicago, IL
20 Sept – Fine Line Music Café: Minneapolis, MN
22 Sept – Star Theater: Portland, OR
23 Sept – The Showbox: Seattle, WA
25 Sept – The Fillmore: San Francisco, CA
26 Sept – Music Box: San Diego, CA
27 Sept – The Fonda Theater: Los Angeles, CA