Alison Moyet has always been front of mind for me when it comes to female vocalists. Her voice has woven itself steadily through my life ever since I heard “Where Hides Sleep” years ago. Now, with the release of her ninth solo album, Other, I sit in awe still of her extraordinary voice and remarkable ability to shape music.
I imagine it would be very easy, after such a prolific creative output, to sit back on your laurels and do the same old things that have worked previously but, happily, this album feels both fresh and contemporary while celebrating the fact that she’s been on the scene since the 80’s with Yazoo, then subsequently as a solo artist.
Her voice is a rich, emotive contralto that pulls at your heart and squeezes just enough to make it hurt, even when it’s a lighter track. It’s hard not to picture her on stage in a grand Broadway musical, such is the clarity of diction and sheer strength of her voice. There’s a beauty to the vocal tone and range that I miss when I hear a lot of female voices, and when she’s at full power it’s simply mesmerising. Time has not diminished her extraordinary talent in any way.
The album itself is varied and unpredictable. Whilst cohesive as a whole there’s a wealth of different styles and moods, each delivered with a finesse and sensitivity that can take your breath away. At times soothing and at others it’s snappy and quirky – certainly never lazy or predictable. There’s a maturity and sense of self-awareness running as a constant undercurrent throughout and it’s that sense of purpose that encourages you to allow yourself to go where the music wants to take you.
In a time where everything feels expendable it’s a joy to have a voice that connects you to the past as well as leading you into new territory. Dynamic, powerful, sensitive, and beautifully crafted, this is absolutely an album to add to the collection.
Review Score: 9.1 out of 10.
Other is available now.
Photo by Steve Gullick.