on 11 March 2008
Revisiting this album after a spell of not listening to it has made me appreciate this hugely under-rated gem. More personal than his later works this is the perfect start to investigate Mcalmonts career.
Reviewers at the time said the album is like a male sung version of the Cocteau's "Heaven or Las Vegas" and they're not far wrong, the guitars sparkle and shimmer and David's voice often soars into the ether effortlessly matching anything Liz Fraser sung.
Theres huge changes in style too from the melancholy "is it raining" to the PSB-esque "Its always this way". I heartily recommend this album and say if you have had even a passing interest in McAlmont then prepared to be amazed by this album, its arguably the best work he's done to date.
on 25 January 2008
When this album came out in '95 the British music scene was in the throes of trip-hop and about to be laddified by Oasis and their pals. So it was not a surprise when McALMONT failed to be the huge success someone had hoped. Everything about it challenged not only the zeitgeist, but also the received idea that black artists had to be hetero soulmen singing cloying lyrics to their ladies.
This disc takes other routes: David McAlmont's androgynous tones fuse echoes of Billy Mackenzie, Elizabeth Frazer and Joni Mitchell (whose CONVERSATION is covered here) into a flux of sonic brilliance; the music, on the other hand, provides a bold recipe of indie guitars, electronica and iced funk that invariably produces songs with complex melodies and an art-pop sensibility. Add to this intelligent, carefully crafted lyrics, and you will have a gem on your hands, which is no exaggeration to call underrated.
We are not late, though: we can still savour the smouldering balladry of WORN AWAY, soar sky-high with NOT WISER and MISUNDERSTOOD or dance with tears in our eyes to the classic UNWORTHY, HE LOVES YOU or IT'S ALWAYS THIS WAY, all the while marvelling at how subtly black music stereotypes are being altered by the tactics at work here. Perhaps the best example of this is the ballad IS IT RAINING?: downtempo beats support Mitchell-flavoured vocal lines that stretch into infinity, sometines giving up harmony altogether, until the whole composition drowns in a dissonant wall of sound worthy of Throbbing Gristle... Not what you might call your average pop album, indeed.
So do not waste your time: pluck this orchid off the heap of coal it had the misfortune to pop up on.