Reviews & Recommendations
She exorcised Grief's ugly demon
With a new found sense of freedom
-- "Widow Weeds", Almond
Marc Almond
(solo work)
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"From his early days with Soft Cell , Marc Almond has excelled in mixing different genres of music ranging from newwave, synthpop and goth, to cabaret jazz, trip-hop and soul music. No other singer/songwriter out there has vividly painted landscapes of the dark, the lonely and the heartbroken as well as Almond did. His lyrics echo like pure poetry, vehicled by his unique soothing voice. His musical influences are as varied and rich as his own compositions: Lou Reed, Scott Walker, David Bowie, Edith Piaf and most importantly Jacques Brel.
21 years already and the man with the 'Tainted Life' is still going strong, leaving a history of drug addictions, obsessions and betrayals behind. "
Said Sukkarieh,, 7/01

Recommended Marc Almond biography books:

Marc Almond: The Last Star
by Jeremy Reed, Paperback - Revised edition (Jun 99)

The Last Star is the best-selling, in-depth aesthetic account of the life, loves, attitudes, lyrics and music of Marc Almond. In this new edition, author Jeremy Reed traces the evolution of Almond's music and lyrics from the legendary Soft Cell, through the various solo records and collaborations, to his emergence as perhaps the greatest male torch singer of his generation. The result is a sympathetic and vivid portrayal of a controversial, enigmatic modern star living and working at the creative edge of his art. Includes 24 pages of photography and complete discography. --

 Marc Almond Discography - Album / CD Reviews


1984: Vermine in Ermine

"For those who love the trashier side of Marc Almond, this is the album for you. Whilst his later solo albums, like for example "The Stars We Are" are smooth productions, this one is dripping with grime. No happy sing-alongs on this one, but music and lyrics which hit you in the stomach. Marc sings about boys who fail in life, about love and especially about all the dangers and complications of love. I feel the music on this album is closer to the "Marc and the Mamba's" period than to his work in the late 80's. The style of the songs differs greatly. There are fast songs with lots of beat like 'You have', almost spoken-word songs like 'Shining sinners' and melodious ones like 'Tenderness is a weakness'.", customer review, 10/00

***¼ 1985: Stories of Johnnyaudio
Accompanied by the Willing Sinners, and with the help of Martin McCarrick (from Siouxsie and the Banshees) on strings and synth, Marc puts together his first successful solo chart LP including hits like the brilliant opening track Traumas Traumas, the title track, and Love Letters.
Said Sukkarieh,, 7/01

1987: Mother Fist and her Five Daughtersaudio
"[ ] takes its name from the short story "Nocturnal Turnings" by Truman Capote, to whom the record is dedicated. On this early record, Almond chooses to showcase a number of personalities in a series of portraits. With exotic instrumentation and colorful musical arrangements, Almond creates an impressive and reflective record. "Mother Fist..." describes a relationship with a woman who has a mysteriously strong hold on men. Almond uses Spanish- styled strings and rhythms to create an air of the otherworld. 'Saint Judy' is a dark and bluesy soliloquy lamenting a woman's life within and without the spotlight. 'The Hustler' is a man who has seen the "darker side of men." The song's quiet piano and string arrangement creates a simple caricature of his loneliness. 'Melancholy Rose' is an accordion and snare drum ode to a murderous assassin reflecting on her lovers past. Throughout this record, Almond's strength continues to be his pierced tenor; it seems naive yet corrupted..."
-- Aparna Mohan,

****¼ 1988: The Stars We Are audio
"Even more so than Stories of Johnny, this is Almond with an eye and ear on making a commercial record while still being himself, and the result is much better than expected. (...) the sprightly opening title track, followed by the tenderly passionate "These My Dreams Are Yours, " makes for what had to be the most upbeat start to a Almond album yet! Similar moments crop up throughout the record, including "Bitter Sweet, " with a killer sweeping chorus, the sparkling, slightly jazzy "The Very Last Pearl, " which gives pulsing nightlife one of its best makeovers ever, and a triumphant, everything and the kitchen sink version of Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart, " replaced on later versions of the album with the UK-chart topping duet with Pitney himself. That said, it's still a Marc album through and through - the lighter songs still have his sweet purr in the vocals while moodier and expectedly dramatic numbers still turn up in abundance. (...) "The Sensualist" acts as his clearest statement yet on the many erotic joys life has to offer. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, "Tears Run Rings, " his most overtly political number to date, became a minor US hit."
-- Ned Raggett, AMG

1989: Jacques
"The songs on this album are translations of chansons by the Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel. (...) Almond is the greatest Brel singer. His strong and theatrical baritone fits perfectly Brel's dramatic songs and beautiful ballads. Almond also recorded an excellent disco version of Brel's song "Jacky" for his album Tenement Symphony."
chanteur, amazon customer review, 5/00

**** 1990: Enchanted audio
"Enchanted, featured the singer's usual flamboyant style complemented by flourishes of flamenco guitar and violin and a solid production. "

***¾ 1991: Tenement Symphony
"Another perfect example of Marc Almond's under-rated and overlooked albums. This LP is the work of a musical genius, highlighting Marc's capability of leading an orchestra to achieve the perfection he envisions. It includes a rendition of David McWilliams's The Days Of Pearly Spencer and Brel's Jacky. It also sees Marc reunite with his former Soft Cell partner Dave Ball on two songs: 'Meet me in my Dreams' and 'I've never seen your face'.
-- DJ Avalanche,, 7/01

***½ 1991: Memorabilia - The Singles audio
A collection of Soft Cell and Marc Almond's greatest hits, with '91 remixed dance versions of most songs.

*** 1992: A Virgin's Tale Vol I
A collection of re-recorded songs from "Stories of Johnny" and songs taken from an unreleased EP "A Woman's Story" which Marc wrote in 1985, + a couple of rareties.

**½ 1992: A Virgin's Tale Vol II audio
Almond's last release on Virgin Records UK, collects his unreleased songs left over from previous recording sessions.

1993: Absinthe
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**¾ 1996: Fantastic Star
"...finds Britain's favourite Diva In The Undergrowth engaging in a spot of roots recovery....takes in t'Cell's minimalist electro-cabaret pop...and even straps on the stack-heeled Heavy Stereo boots for a bit of glam ramming, just to prove the disco demon can still rock with the seediest of 'em..."
New Musical Express (2/24/96, p.48)

*** 1999: Violent Silence / A Woman's Story audio
"In 1985, Marc Almond wrote songs for "A Woman's Story," each of which was colorful and abstract. And continuing in the grand Almond-ine tradition, they're highly visual pieces. One of the best tracks, 'The Plague,' flows like a march into war. With many voices in unison, Almond creates the effect of a shared experience. The lyrics describe a dark plague striking and attacking life as we know it. Another high point on the record, 'Little White Cloud That Cried' is a smooth and heavenly ballad. The lyrics are sweetly accented by angelic female voices and sweeping harp glissandos.
Thirsty Ear's new reissue of "A Woman's Story" includes the recordings which comprised another release from Marc Almond, "Violent Silence". These five tracks were recorded in 1985 from a performance celebrating French surrealist erotic writer Georges Bataille. The recording is a rare glimpse into a live performance by Almond, and a nice freebie to complement this record's re-release."
-- Aparna Mohan,
**** 1999: Open All Night audio
"Each song is like the exhaled drag from a cigarette: something bad, but familiar and compulsive, is first physically internalised, then released in a smoky new configuration which curls and unfurls languidly, reaching even the remotest parts of an after-hours venue. Almond's lyrics are pure poetry, capturing the games people play in the dark. (...)
There are also brilliant guest appearances: former Sneaker Pimps vocalist Kelly Ali, on the John Barry-esque 'Almost Diamonds,' and Siouxsie Sioux, in fine form, with the Northern African vibes of 'Threat of Love'. Open All Night reflects the utterly nineties characteristic of the postmod in music, but will have a cosy place in your CD player for years to come -- much like Portishead's Dummy or Sade's Love Deluxe."
--Deirdre Devers,, 11/99

** *2001: Stranger Things
"(...) a few of the tracks have just enough harpsichord and mandolin appearances to remind you of his good old days with The Willing Sinners. 'Dancer' is another ace track, with the closest thing to snarl you'll find here. 'When it's Your Time,' 'End in Tears,'and 'Love in a Time of Science' are back-to-back-to-back winners, uniting orchestra and tech into some pretty eerie songs that show Almond still has some edge left to him after all... "
--Eric Wahl, amazon customer reviews, 7/01

** * 2003: Heart on Snow
Tracklisting: 01 - So long the path (so wide the field) 02 - Strange feeling (with Sergej Penkin) 03 - Gosudaryunia (with Aquarium) 04 - Always and everywher (I will follow you) 05 - Oh my soul (with Alla Bayanova) 06 - Two guitars (with Lojko) 07 - Heart on snow (with Russia Orchestra) 08 - Nuit de noel (with Boris Grebenshikov) 09 - Romance 10 - Storks 11 - Luna (with Alla Bayanova) 12 - White flowers of acacia 13 - Glance of your dark eyes 14 - If your affectionate smile has gone (with Ilja Lagutenko) 15 - Sleeping beauty 16 - Just one chance (with Loudmila Zyukina) 17 - Gone but not forgotten (with the Choir of The Higher Naval Engineering Academy St. Petersburg) 18 - So wide the field (Reprise) 19 - The glance of your dark eyes (Bonus with Mikhael Aptekman)
"A confirmed Russophile, Almond has no truck with the modern nation of billionaire oligarchs and tATu. He's wistful for the days of "working, waving the red flag and singing", although presumably not for gulags and the like. Heart on Snow's Russian material, from 19th-century romance songs to pieces by gay Soviet dissident Vadim Kozin, certainly appeals to Almond's sense of melodrama but lacks the sly humour of Soft Cell and his best solo work. The result is overcooked and often awkward. None the less, there's admirable boldness and integrity in making an album that only uses Russian musicians. Almond is surely the first western pop star to enlist the services of the choir of the Higher Naval Engineering Academy of St Petersburg, and probably the last."
-- Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, 12/03

2007: Stardom Road
Tracklisting: 01.I Have Lived 02.I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten (featuring Sarah Cracknell) 03.Bedsitter Images 04.The London Boys 05.Strangers In The Night 06.The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men (featuring Antony Hegarty) 07.Stardom Road 08.Kitsch 09.Backstage (I’m Lonely) 10.Dream Lover 11.Happy Heart 12.Redeem Me (Beauty Will Redeem The World) 13.The Curtain Falls

"Staring death in the face and deciding his current outfit wouldn't see him through to eternity, Marc Almond gave a kick of the heels, a flick of the head and cat-walked back to life. A motorbike accident in 2004 was not the way he'd want to be remembered. Realising mortality and spurred to live life to the full, Almond has used his return to compile a collection of songs which influenced his upbringing. 'Stardom Road' begins its journey circa '59, the year of his birth, through to his Soft Cell fame. Quite what Bobby Darin would make of Almond is anyone's guess, but the crooner certainly made an impression on young Marc. Dream Lover and the album closer The Curtain Falls show the origins of Marc's showmanship along with Sinatra's Strangers In The Night. It's a tough act to follow and ultimately proves out of reach, however much he tries to make it his own. Dusty Springfield's I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten is a much better attempt. One of the album highlights, it features the sassy Sarah Cracknell of St Etienne and thoroughly deserves its place as the first single lifted. But a change of tact on Shirley Bassey's The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men worryingly sees Antony & The Johnsons Antony Hegarty outshine his host to deliver the enchanting performance this time around."
-- Iain Griffin ,, 6/07

2010: Variété
Tracklisting: 1. (Intro) – Almond/Cashmore 2. Bread & Circus – Almond/Fedorov 3. Nijinsky Heart – Almond/Faber 4. The Exhibitionist – Almond/Watkins 5. The Trials of Eyeliner – Almond/Cashmore 6. Lavender- Almond/Watkins 7. Soho So Long – Almond/Fedorov/Whitmore 8. Unloveable - Almond/Faber 9. Sandboy – Almond/Watkins 10. It’s All Going On – Almond/Faber 11. Variety – Almond/Faber 12. Cabaret Clown – Almond 13. My Madness and I – Almond/Whitmore 14. But Not Today – Almond/Whitmore 15. Swan Song – Almond/Whitmore 16. Sin Song – Almond/Cashmore

Release Date: June 7, 2010

Recommended Links:

Marc Almond's Theatre
Heart in Black Velvet

Song Lyrics

Beautiful Losers
Almost Diamonds
Similar Artists:

Soft Cell | Pet Shop Boys | Voltaire | Depeche Mode | Siouxsie and the Banshees | Jimmy Sommerville | Midge Ure | Erasure

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