For those who are unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the work of Alison Moyet or Yazoo (with Vince Clark, formerly Depeche Mode, The Assembly & Erasure, etc.) then my initial statement to you regarding Alison’s eighth studio album is – get it. As someone who knows Alison’s work as far back as the 1970s with The Vandals, I will say that as with most major artists with a career, fan base and history like hers, the first thing you have to do with The Minutes is forget what seems to be the obligatory commercial tracks and focus on the album tracks.
I was so keen to hear this album that I jumped right in before reading any of the credits and release notes. When listening to the non-commercial tracks I found myself making immediate comparisons to Björk in many places with regard to the production and general ambiance. So it was no surprise then to find that it was co-written and produced by Guy Sigsworth who had a major hand playing and directing some of Björk’s best music, for example “All Is Full Of Love.”
You may now be thinking what sound could possibly emerge from taking the production sound of Björk and handing it to Alison Moyet? Well, the answer is in “The Minutes” – or at least most of it. This is NOT a Björk album. It is distinctly and recognizably Alison. It sees her seriously on form vocally and will not disappoint those of us who found ourselves shoegazing on a dance floor as a hypnotised flailing teenager to tracks from her past like “Situation,” “Anyone” and “Goodbye 70s”… well, that’s what they played at my hangouts.
Unfortunately the chances may be high that the tracks that stand out the most on this album will not be the ones played on mainstream radio, which will be a great shame if that holds true. “Apple Kisses” is an outstanding track and one I will play on my station in a heartbeat. I know my listeners will love it. For me, this is Alison doing what she does best. Follow that with a track like “Remind Yourself” and you’ll be embraced by a soundscape, texture and atmosphere akin to that of David Sylvian – dark, deep and filled with simple emotion that Alison serves up beautifully in her classic style with her amazingly controlled, soft, but powerful and distinctive lower range to her vocal. Contrast that with “A Place To Stay” or “Horizon Flame” where again you’ll hear the Björk/David Sylvian feel supporting Alison as she effortlessly meanders around the vocal with an almost improvised feel to produce what I loved most about her — her ability to make what she does sound so easy and comfortable.
“Running By The Tide” sees Alison doing what she far too rarely does and that’s to take a wander down the darker side of her writing and play with the dramatics and theatrics of her music. With the mixing of electronics and synth string sounds you’d be more likely to find in Guy’s work with Björk, this almost-movie soundtrack offering gives Alison the freedom to play with a more thought provoking lyric whilst the music can finish the narrative by building and dropping the audience throughout.
The Minutes – Should I buy this album? Certainly. Should I only buy individual tracks? Definitely.
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— Producer Mark | @indieshow_radio