Alison Moyet has traveled many roads over her long career – rock, soul, theater, and more – but her new album Other show she’s never lost her affinity for the cool electronic sound-baths that defined much of her early work as well as 2013’s stellar the minutes. Yet while Moyet’s sound and sensibility remain utterly distinctive, the variety of moods and methods on Other‘s 10 tracks show equally unmistakeable signs of a peripatetic creative life, while the wisdom of age percolates through the lyrics. As she sings in the strongly theatrical “The English U,” “I’m always listening.”
Listening to her own unique muse has always led her towards fertile ground. The pastoral melodies and epic chorus of “The Rarest Birds” resonate with the steely determination of the opening track, “I Germinate.” The nervous synth twitches and vocal shouts of “Beautiful Gun” contrast with her rich, sensuous alto in the spoken-word “April 10,” and the latter’s dark iciness leads effectively into the nursery-rhyme cadences of the title track, where we find Moyet in her gentlest mode, using an airy head-voice to deliver a beautiful tone poem.
Still she proves she hasn’t left chirpy, pounding dance-pop behind with “Happy Giddy,” echoing the Bee Gees and Madonna. (Producer Guy Sigsworth, whom she also partnered with on the minutes, has worked with Madonna, as well as artists as different as Björk and Britney Spears.)
Closing the album, an almost heavy-metal synthesizer thunder sweeps over the chorus of “Alive,” turning the slight composition into an oceanic rush. Though an experimental spirit hovers over the new album, Moyet’s writing mojo remains as strong as her forever-unmistakeable voice. Other is as vital as anything she’s ever done.
Other is out now on UK indie label Cooking Vinyl and its U.S. arm Cooking Vinyl America. Keeping up with our weirdly retro times, the label has made it available on cassette as well as CD, vinyl, and download.