On her collaboration with Four Tet, Neneh Cherry pairs dub and ambient with quietly contemplative lyrics.
Mon Oct 22 15:44:31 CEST 2018100
Big issues litter Broken Politics, Neneh Cherry’s fifth solo album. In that beautifully snagged raw-silk voice, she sings about abortion, refugees, gun violence and the ease with which conspiracy calcifies into assumed fact these days. But it never feels heavy-handed. The closest Cherry gets to defining a manifesto comes in Synchronised Devotion: “It’s my politics, living in the slow jam.” That in itself is pretty gnomic, but taken in terms of R&B slow jams – which emphasise leaning into every feeling – and the nonstop collision of worthy issues vying for attention, it makes sense. The challenge that Cherry accepts, and aces, is remaining empathetic in a climate predisposed to desensitise.
Broken Politics is Cherry’s second album produced by Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden. Their last collaboration, 2014’s Blank Project, was often stark and brittle. This one is softer, using kora, flute, steel drum and harp as the rippling beds for Cherry’s often fragmented observations and admissions. The loose instrumentation lets Cherry lead the way: her lines often sound extemporised, shifting easily between wisdom and soulful desolation. The effect is intimate yet expansive. A couple of more aggressive songs reflect Cherry’s origins in Bristol’s post-punk scene – the clubfoot bass drag of Kong, the fuzzy boom of Faster Than the Truth – and establish an atmosphere for Cherry to make sense of who she was and how to keep that person close.Continue reading...
Fri Oct 19 10:00:19 CEST 201873
On her second consecutive album produced by Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, the ever-adventurous former pop star takes on the moment’s social upheaval by getting personal.
Wed Oct 24 07:00:00 CEST 201860
A certain sassiness has been part of Neneh Cherry’s modus operandi since her days in the Bristol underground, before she became one of the 80s’ coolest pop stars. Although the title of Broken Politics – her fifth solo album overall – suggests buffalo stances and narrowed eyes, Cherry is actually in reflective mood on this second outing with Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden (the first was 2014’s Blank Project).
Sloganeering is limited to a snippet of the Last Poets’ Blessed Are Those Who Struggle. Instead, a sort of free-form, aching prettiness reigns. There are fractured beats, and tendril-like melodies, but here nothing really lands – as either protest or revelation. On Synchronised Devotion we learn that Cherry is a Pisces whose politics are “living in a slow jam” as Hebden strafes her with eastern-sounding bells. Elsewhere, on Shot Gun Shack, she delivers glancing blows to gun culture, and on the dubby Kong – a collaboration with Massive Attack’s 3D, an old friend from her Bristol days – the refugee crisis. But mid-album, Cherry and Hebden hit a very sweet spot indeed as Natural Skin Deep finally syncs Hebden’s rhythmic dub jazz and Cherry’s pop nous.Continue reading...
Sun Oct 21 09:00:17 CEST 2018