Marc Almond

Adored and Explored [#1]

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Starting with a burst of thunder and some harmonica from, of all folks, David Johansen, Adored and Explored made for a fast, energetic return to the singles arena from Almond. More explicitly techno/hi-NRG influenced than much of his previous work, likely thanks to the musical help of the Beatmasters, it's a quick romp, with Almond inviting the listener into a realm of agreeably dark pleasures while the beat and Johansen's vamping make for a great combination. A nearly ten-minute "slow fat dub" also crops up, with an amazing, heavily distorted guitar part leading the way over the dark funk rhythms. As for the two stand-alone originals, "The User" is a strident, semi-successful number that lets Almond's new collaborator, Neal X, peel off some chunky guitar riffs and solos over the hip-hop beat. Almond's own attempts at being the MC are actually pretty good -- he doesn't try and sound like he's from the Bronx or the like; he just delivers his portrait of a manipulative social climber in a staccato fashion with his usual voice. "Loveless World," meanwhile, is an agreeably T. Rex gone synth-slick and strong beat fusion, with Neal X's guitar providing just enough grease to Almond's vision of the titular situation.

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