Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Vivien Goldman's 'Resolutionary'

I jumped that the chance to review this release, and unsurprisingly it's delivered a great morning's listen. Aside from a list of collaborators that include Steve Beresford, Vicky Aspinall, John Lydon, Viv Albertine, David Toop, Carroll Thompson, Neneh Cherry, Bruce Smith, Keith Levene and of course Adrian Sherwood at the controls, it's Vivien's vision and sense of humour that hold the tracks together.
Here are some listeners notes:
Launderette: What a great atmosphere. I listen to a lot of song recordings as part of my job and some of them are brilliant, some very poor; even with the best ones, creating an atmosphere is a rare feat. The sleeve notes say that this was originally improvised, and the vocal still has that fresh ‘just laundered’ feel. From inside the drum of a tumble dryer, the dub section fights against the flying socks and loose coins, moving along at a pace that won’t let your feet stand still. This is one of my favourite songs of all time.
Private Armies: playful vocal experiments subvert prettiness to attack all violence that is glamorized and given validity by being dressed up in uniforms: whether the police, armies of music fans, or anyone else for that matter. Mainly aimed at the police, gun-shot snare drums shoot the message home in the dub section.
The Flying Lizards: Her Story. More formally organised sound-wise, there is a focus on the dance floor here. It’s interesting to hear that the elements of Vivien’s sound work just as well in a much poppier format, even though there is more of an escapist feel here. The electronic sounds and whooshes seem to be reaching across the pond to New York somehow; Ladbroke Grove’s claustrophobia has been left behind in this track.
The Flying Lizards: The Window. I wondered if the subject of this song was the accidental lover of Launderette, returned in metaphorical form to drink blood. Little threads of girl group vocal innocently intrude into the threatening scenario: do, doo, de doo….. There are many layers in this track; the outro features a muffled male vocal. I can’t hear what he says: that makes things even more unnerving.
Chantage: Same Thing Twice: Vivien’s voice is layered over an African-influenced backing. A trombone-heavy brass section punctuates the song, a steel pan band joins in, and a guitar skips along throughout the track. Celebratory and yearning at the same time.
Chantage: It’s Only Money: the practical humour of Launderette returns to the lyrics. Daughter of The Slits’ Shoplifting and the film Cabaret’s Money, in this song Vivien parodies attitudes to money, from the richest to the poorest. A disruptive angel, she sings over a tumbling track that, like the previous one, features a world of instrumentation that includes a gypsy violin. This belongs alongside Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, somewhere in an emergent New York sound of the 1980s. 
Tu M’Fais Rire: this is the most gorgeous acapella and is a lovely ending to the music.
There is an interview here too; the whole release has a joie de vivre and tempered cynicism that pop music needs desperately. Come back! All is forgiven!
Available from 20th May, here:

1 comment:

A Punk said...

Everybody's on 'Top of the Pops'