Alison Moyet

the minutes

by Charles Pitter

30 June 2013

cover art

Alison Moyet

the minutes

(Cooking Vinyl)
US: 11 Jun 2013
UK: 6 May 2013

the minutes contains phat London beats, innit, which could surprise the average Alison Moyet fan. I don’t wanna amp it up, but it’s bangin’, and I doubt the rents will get it. It should probably be listened to loud on your cans to get total sonic immersion, walking down the street in new 110s.

But really it shouldn’t be that surprising because Moyet started off in the Vandals, hitting mainstream success in the ‘80s with Yazoo, and the latter was very much programmed music. It was only later on that her music turned a little more traditional with Alf and Raindancing, as Moyet became known as the greatest chanteuse to come out of Romford since Edith Piaf (this may be a purposeful misstatement of fact, as Moyet actually originated from Billericay). All you can do is shrug your shoulders, and admit some things stick to public consciousness and some things don’t, accept sometimes we’re stuck with the idea other people have of us, whether it’s right or wrong.

Moyet is in fact versatile. Her music can appeal to hipsters and housewives, or even housewives in hipsters, and the minutes is a great type of hybrid. Behind the techno, dubstep and basslines is Moyet’s distinctive voice, bringing it home to papa.

“Horizon Flame” sets the listener up for something different, “suddenly the landscape has changed,” and melody is interspersed with unexpected technical developments. “Changeling” rams the message home, with a synth line that points as precisely as the laser moving up between James Bond’s legs. The wizardry never detracts but only adds, and it must be an unexpected technical development in itself for me to catch myself singing the chorus to “When I Was Your Girl” around the house, because I am in fact a boy, and have not knowingly ever been anyone’s girl. The song shows off the delight of Moyet’s hard vowels to great effect, and even has a Springsteen-esque instrumental break.

“Apple Kisses” starts with a drop, and takes us further into techno through some instrumental breaks, and “Right as Rain” is certainly a challenge to Kylie as ûber-cool club queen, complete with backbeat, and Moyet’s adoption of a zen, take it or leave it pose: “If you can’t be happy with me, be unhappy with me, stay unhappy with me.”

Moyet has suggested that the main theme of the minutes is schizophrenia. Potentially this may be because on the album Moyet switches effortlessly between the modern and the traditional. “Remind Yourself” is a big ballad, demonstrating an ongoing but opposing internal dialogue, and then in sweeps “Love Reigns Supreme”, oscillating with the new, optimistic and hoping for kindness. It sounds like Daft Punk on holiday in Essex.

“A Place to Stay” begins with what sound like windscreen wipers over a windshield, perfectly emphasizing the context of the song. Uprooted, we’re taken into a cinema and the inner city life of “Filagree”. “All Signs of Life” takes it a step further into a hard piece of electro, coming-up, coming-down, into to the ominous, meta-physicals bells of “Rung by the Tide”.

the minutes is addictively good, fierce music, sometimes vivid enough to alarm (and maybe that’s what schizophrenia is, a total overload of images and voices and too much world all at once). As a whole, it’s a total trip into Moyet-land, containing moments of curiosity and wonder, Guy Sigsworth as the Hatter pulling the singer to new places with inventive and unusual programming. Maybe the rents may learn to appreciate it, but they’ll have to be ready and willing to accept that every minute can be different.

the minutes


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