- 01 Nov 17
Vintage '60s covers from Soft Cell art-pop legend.
There are no great departures for Marc Almond on his latest outing. Ballads in the style of Scott Walker's early solo albums trace a path back to 'Torch' off Soft Cell's debut Non Stop Erotic Cabaret and continue via 'Days of Pearly Spencer', 'Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart' and onwards. It's a fertile thread that has spun its way throughout his oeuvre. Marc always wears a tattooed heart on his sleeve, ready to be ripped out and thrown before a spurning lover, while daring them to trample it into the dirt.
Shadows And Reflections is comprised of lovingly recreated covers of '60s golden-era cheese-pop by the likes of Burt Bacharach, The Yardbirds and Bobby Darin. The strings are syrupy, the backing vocals angelic and the orchestral arrangements sumptuous. He's reworked some standards while unearthing a few obscurities. The protagonists are always heartbroken and overwrought, while the melodrama is racked up to obscene levels of pathos. Wistful regrets abound, as do impassioned entreaties to never let go of what once was.
Original track 'Embers' sits well among the covers. Indistinguishable in style from the rest, it finds Almond in the throes of resigned anguish, as he croons, "The embers are dying in my heart/ And I'm sighing". The back of one hand pressed against forehead while the other clutches at his breast, no doubt. So yes, it's a veritable fromage-fest, but being fond of fondue myself, I took to it like singed bread to melted bacteria.