Jimmy Somerville is no stranger to disco. The Communards covered 'Don't Leave Me This Way' and 'Never Can Say Goodbye' to devastating effect in 1986 and 1987, and Somerville pulled off a similar feat with his solo take on 'You Make Me Feel' in 1989. So it's no real surprise that the new Jimmy Somerville album 'Homage' is a disco album through and through. The surprise here is that although the record has disco DNA running through the core of each and every song, this is a collection of brand new songs presented through the sparkly prism of the genre.
Does it work? Without any question of a doubt. Every song is polished to a high disco sheen, and I would wager that a decent number of them - had they been released in the disco heyday - would have become classics of the genre in their own right.
The music itself is lush, each song drenched in the kind of string, horn and electronic sounds that defined the disco era. An homage to disco offers a relatively narrow palate to work from so all of these songs, to a greater or lesser degree, are made for dancing: from the out and out four-to-the-floor monsters of 'Strong Enough' or 'Travesty' to the slower, soulful sounds of 'Learned To Talk', 'The Core' or 'Freak' and back again. As such there's less room than usual for Somerville's characteristic overt politicising, but he's in such fine voice and the album is so resolutely upbeat that this is very easy to forgive.
The very nature of a disco record means that musically everything has to work within fairly tight parameters, but when you're having so much fun who really cares about that? It's time to hit the dance floor.
Some Wonder / Strong Enough / Freak / Taken Away / Back To Me / The Core / Travesty / Bright Thing / Lights Are Shining / This Hand / Overload / Learned To Talk
'Homage' was released on March 9th 2015 on CD, Limited-Edition 12" Vinyl and via Digital Download.
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