Anybody who has kept track of Alison Moyet’s movements in recent years will know of her partnership with the extraordinary Guy Sigsworth (Famed for his collaborations with Bjork, Imogen Heap, Seal, Madonna and countless others).
Together, they produced one of 2013’s finest collections, ‘the minutes’; an 11 chapter opus brimming with luxurious electronica soundscapes and lyrics that boasted a captivating level of poeticism. In June comes their second collaboration, ‘Other’ and still with one month to go before it’s official release, I was given the privilege of listening to bring you this review.
The album opens with slinking contortions under the name ‘I Germinate’ – here we find Alison’s sagacious storytelling stand before a thrilling soundtrack of wobbling bass and sinister string/synth work. The lilting swoon of ‘Lover, Go’ rings as a more soft-spoken sister to ‘Remind Yourself’ from ’the minutes’.
A subtle tensity belies the chorus’ soft and hypnotic sway. Guy’s ability to create shapeshifter from song and keep it cohesive is on full display drops the pace for something more chilled and spirited; its graceful and sweeping chorus melodies will have you swooning.
‘The English U’ is an arresting fusion of electronica and orchestral music that dances with the breeze in a graceful slow waltz. Part of the charm of Alison’s lyrics is that she never lets on her authorial intent, which allows us to construct our own meaning and it can be every bit as true. To me, the lyrics of this song recite as a dedication to the English language from a dyslexic point of view, as well as her late mother. The same grace bleeds into the theatrical atmosphere of ‘The Rarest Birds’; the torch song of ‘Other’. Possibly her best ballad to date, ’The Rarest Birds’ is a beaming ode to solidarity and identity, beginning with a smouldering glimmer before bursting into a beautiful aurora borealis in the chorus
The blazing heat of ‘Beautiful Gun’ turns the album on it’s head and pays salute to Alison’s background in punk bands before joining Yazoo. There’s a sharp defiance to this electro-blues jam that resembles Depeche Mode and fuses it with Moyet’s rich vocal bite. Launching the album is the frostbitten swagger of ‘Reassuring Pinches’; a sinister creature with a glitching heartbeat that is shaped by brooding synth arpeggios. Moyet’s robust vocal performance compliments Sigsworth’s intricate precision and dynamic musicality as “All the thirsty beasts come down to drink”.
The mesmerising ‘April 10th’ is the yin to the yang of ‘Beautiful Gun’. Cloudilke in delivery and aura, ‘April 10th’ is a weightless spoken word piece that maybe comes as the biggest surprise on the album. Alison’s unique gift for poetry is given the opportunity to shine without acrobatic vocals. Lurking closely behind is a soundtrack akin to FKA twigs. Title track ‘Other’ takes the album to it’s most undressed form; dimly lit piano, velvet pads and a palatial vocal.
As enjoyable as it’s name, ‘Happy Giddy’ is an exhilaratingly insistent study into online reality, full skittering, frenetic keys and signature Sigsworth buzzing bass. Finally, doom-wrought closer ‘Alive’ garnishes the album with deadly potency. Strangely euphoric, the oceanic ‘Alive’ opens in the eye of a storm, followed with precognitive warning in the stark ambience of the verses before climbing to a vicious maelstrom of synths.
Every bit as beguiling as it’s predecessor, ‘Other’ is the mindful experiment to ‘the minutes’ frantic schizophrenia. Alison continues to demonstrate her strength as a wordsmith through lyrical intelligence and observance as well as a juggernaut vocalist. Meanwhile, Guy has demonstrated that their musical partnership can stem far beyond the 11 songs that debuted their joining.
‘Other’ is available for pre-order and will be released on June 16 via Cooking Vinyl Records.