Alison Moyet

The Minutes

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After a reunion tour with Yaz and an appearance as Mama Morton in the West End production of the musical Chicago, Alison Moyet released The Minutes, her first recording in six years. Produced and co-conceived with producer Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Björk, Britney Spears, Alanis Morissette), this set marks the first time Moyet has embraced an entirely electronic palette since the 1980s. And while her electro roots are on full display here, this is not an exercise in nostalgia. The only cuts that remotely suggest Yaz are the jaunty, pulsing "Love Reign Supreme," a song about resilience in the most difficult of times, and "Filigree," with its delicate, barely there ticking rhythm, bubbling, bleepy synthesizers, and only enough structure to carry Moyet's melody home in this lovely, poignant ballad. In spite of her collaboration with a producer whose metier is more often than not dancefloor pop, Moyet proves she is no mere slave to the rhythm (never has been), and as has been her wont, the lyrics are meaty throughout. The record's first single, "When I Was Your Girl," doesn't stray very far from her torch song dramatics, even with its electronic palette -- no, those aren't guitars. But check "Changeling" and you'll hear dubstep breakdowns and drops, while "Right as Rain" uses 1990s post-disco and techno to carry its message of unlimited and unconditional devotion to her beloved. "Apple Kisses," with its squelchy basslines and skeletal beats, underscores the erotic bravado in the lyric. "A Place to Stay" commences with a gothic organ and its hint at harder edges, which arrive in the form of an industrial instrumental break, all of it underscoring Moyet the scorched-earth torch singer. Realistically, despite this being an electronic album, she only glances back occasionally. The Minutes is rooted firmly in the present. Lyrically, Moyet has seldom been better, and her voice is simply ageless. Her partnership with Sigsworth is a fine, even seamless fit, making this consistent, and satisfying, top to bottom.

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