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Published on December 20th, 2018 | by voxx

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Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics

Her music may be mellower, but the pop-rap veteran’s fury is undimmed…

Neneh Cherry’s creative rebirth has been largely defined by the sound of an artist getting angrier as she gets older. The extraordinary Blank Project, from 2014, her first solo album in almost 20 years, itself following hot on the heels of a skronk-jazz collaboration with The Thing, tapped into her post-punk roots for an often furious collection that made you fear for anyone within range of her ire. Its follow-up, Broken Politics,is calmer and more reflective, but no happier with the world it surveys.

“Got my knickers in a twist/Broke some glass, broken politics,” she sings on ‘Synchronised Devotion’, perhaps the mellowest moment of an album that doesn’t want for mellow moments. But the softness is in the sound, not the stance, which, like its cover art – Cherry stood purposefully in the street, in a full-length dress that might’ve been fashioned out of a bedsheet – is bristling and steely. ‘Kong’, which features 3D and echoes the smoky, claustrophobia of Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’, was inspired by the escalating maltreatment of refugees. As she sings on the opening ‘Fallen Leaves’, “Just because I’m down/Don’t step all over me.”

With Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden back on production, the music is stripped-back but always eclectic, skipping from the tambourine of ‘Deep Vein Thrombosis’ to the martial drums of ‘Faster Than The Truth’. Its most urgent track, the fabulous ‘Natural Skin Deep’, is an explosion of steel drums, airhorn and an ascending squiggly synth line that captures the thrills of its flamboyantly sexual lyric. The fury is controlled, the rebirth keeps creating.

- By Jake White


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