It is beyond dispute that Alison Moyet is one of our finest vocalists, and on this new album she truly delivers, but this isn't the bluesy Moyet of days gone by. On 'The Minutes' Moyet delivers an album of impressive dance vocals but, as with Guy Sigsworth's shiny electronics that form the base of this album, there's not an ounce of fat on these performances. Every single note is precise, calculated and stripped to it's barest minimum which means the result is very glossy, very contemporary and utterly unlike anything she has done before, including her output as one half of Yazoo.
'When I Was Your Girl', the album's first single, is a good bridge between the old and the new, featuring a vocal closer in style to the Alison Moyet of the 80s and 90s, a description that - with the possible exception of 'Love Reign Supreme' - can't easily be applied to many of the tracks on the record.
Opening track 'Horizon Flame' is a far more accurate introduction to 'The Minutes', the electronics are glossily smooth and Moyet's lyrics are minimal but effective, a fitting entry into what is generally an atmospheric and hypnotic journey. The overall sound of the album echoes Imogen Heap's recent collaboration with Deadmau5, which I intend as a great compliment!
For me 'Changeling' is the least successful track on 'The Minutes', it's not bad but it's not special either, treading a rather predictable and pedestrian R&B path. Crucially, however, Moyet doesn't sound out of place singing on material as contemporary as this and, although her vocals are generally understated, there's a power in that understatement, as if the record is in part an exercise in holding back some of the emotion that hovers behind these shiny soundscapes.
'The Minutes' is a great, interesting and creatively satisfying record, for me it's one of Alison Moyet's best, but it's very different, and different may not be for everyone...
Horizon Flame / Changeling / When I Was Your Girl / Apple Kisses / Right As Rain / Remind Yourself / Love Reign Supreme / A Place to Stay / Filigree / All Signs OF Life / Rung by the Tide
'The Minutes' was released on April 6th 2013 on CD, limited-edition vinyl and via download.
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