28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Something beautiful happened,
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This review is from: The Minutes (Audio CD)
Alison Moyet has found her perfect musical partner in Guy Sigsworth, who specialises in building an intricate wall of electronica that reveals ever more hooks and flourishes with each listen. It's clear that Alison has put her trust in Guy's production skills fully - this is not an album that hedges it's bets or feels in any way compromised. Alison's unique vocals are fantastic throughout the album, focusing on phrasing and the emotional feeling of each song.
Immediate standout track is the brooding, slightly disturbing 'Right As Rain'. The most bass-driven 'dance' production of the album comes complete with a nagging sense of unease and claustrophobia. "If you can't be happy with me, be unhappy with me, stay unhappy with me" sets the tone for a tense and bitter deconstruction of a relationship gone wrong. It's a brilliant, sour pop moment.
'Filigree' is the track most like Alison's earlier work as part of Yazoo, with a beautiful wistful melody and stirring retro-futurist synths (flashbacks to the original 'Brookside' theme!) The lyrics are lovely - sensitive and thoughtful but also full of poetic imagery. They tell a story (about a trip to the cinema) which illustrates the theme of the whole album - about appreciating small moments of joy by allowing things to unfold at their own pace.
'Love Reign Supreme' again utilises retro synths and has a fantastic chorus which starts delicately but then the beats and electronica wash all over you (if you liked Guy's earlier Frou Frou work, you will particularly enjoy this track).
Alison and Guy are both masters of the electronic ballad and there are several here. There is a breathtaking instrumental break in 'Rung By The Tide' (at around the 2:26 mark) where huge, fractured beats collide with haunting backing vocals and 'middle eastern' instrumentation.
Guy's production may be an acquired taste - as there are stutters, sudden stops and time changes, heavenly choirs, crashing beats, electronic atmospherics, bleeps, squiggles of synth etc - but all of these work in favour of each track, giving them additional emotional weight. Alison's voice is terrific and benefits from the space which is built around her here; for all the 'wall of sound' production it is never forgotton that Alison's vocals sit right in the centre of the track.
Album of the year so far.