Marc Almond has always been a brave and criminally underrated artist. We get further proof of this on his new album, "Orpheus In Exile", where once again he delves into the rich legacy of Gypsy /Russian folk music (his first instalment, "Heart On Snow", came out in 2003).
On this release he focuses on a single singer/ composer, Vadim Kozin, a man who spent most of his long life (he died at ninety-one) exiled in Magadan, Siberia, for two very simple reasons: a) he refused to kowtow to the ferocious little men who "governed" Russia at the time and b) he was suspected of being a homosexual (homophobia, you know, needs very little to thrive).
Recorded in Moscow and backed by the Rossia Orchestra (eleven players), Mr Almond delivers here a touching album comprising fourteen songs, whose lyrics were specially translated into English for him.
It is a beautiful, acoustic set, where accordeon and violin weave a pefect frame for his vocals, as always silken, melodious and poignant. These wistful ballads expertly combine bare emotion with moral strength and exert such power that you will not be allowed indifference. They also fit Mr Almond's artistic persona like a sequined glove and are another invaluable tessella in his long, fruitful solo career.
Do not exile him.