Tuesday, June 8, 2010

weird is wild and cute is bland

The singular adventures of Marc Almond continue with "Varieté", his first album of original material in over a decade. I'm still absorbing the full scope of it. It touches on all parts of his life and career. It waves a fond farewell while simultaneously standing ground.

Like most of his albums, it features characters and personalities, both confident and slightly damaged, across a broad swathe of humanity. There are moments of euphoria and uneasiness, sometimes within the same song. It's a glorious mix of velvet, mascara, glitter, gold lamé, lilac and lavender.

I'm so enthralled with "Varieté" that I had to post something. It might be his best work in years in a career that has numerous creative high water marks. So, I might use this entry as a placeholder until I've thoroughly listened to the entire elpee.

Marc has lensed four videos to accompany the album. Two of them are featured here - the eerie empowerment of "The Exhibitionist" and the raucous glam of the title track.

Marc Almond is truly one of England's great entertainers and a national treasure.


  1. Scuttlebutt has it that this is to be his swansong of original material. That cover is amazing. It seems like an homage, but is it? Any clues?

  2. You hit it right on the head - Marc is a TREASURE! I haven't been this excited since Tenement Symphony

  3. As much as I loved Open All Night and Stranger Things, Variete is his best overall album since the 80's. I even get minor echoes of the Mother Fist era when listening.

  4. @REVO - I've heard the same. But how many times have we heard this from him and other performers? The album seems like a review of his career as if he's looking back at all the variety of styles he has covered.

  5. @Echorich - Absolutely! I really liked "Open All Night" and "Stranger Things". But it's "Mother Fist", "The Stars We Are" and the magnificent "Tenement Symphony" that I played to death. This new album falls into that latter category for me. Easily a four star album.

  6. If it's as good as "The Stars We Are" then it's a no-brainer. I loved the Scott Walker influence on that one. To hear such well orchestrated and arranged pop in 1988 was needed then, as is always. Of course, Marc didn't try a whit to sing like Walker, so that made it even more endearing. It's funny though, I just finally saw the "30 Century Man" documentary and it was a riot to see Marc dissing Walker's post 80s, challenging, atonal work. He was the only one willing to unload on camera whilst all the other stars were still in awe of Walker's art. Though I'm among the latter (I'm certain Tilt and Drift will inform music for many years to come) it was a treat to see Almond being less than completely deferential.