...More show tunes than show stopper.
Iain Griffin 2007-05-31
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.
To Almond's credit, this is not a collection of obvious covers and helps shed light on the maker of the man. 'I'll explain my life and show you all I am and all I've been', he sings in opening track ''I Have Lived''; also stating,
'When it's time to meet the Father and explains my sins away, I will tell him, yes I'll tell him I have lived'. Two stern fingers up to remorse of indiscretion in case you were wondering.
Clearly the Noughties have not been especially good for Marc Almond. More at home pushing the envelope of the Eighties he's struggled to shock and excite in our ever-more liberal times. Sadly too, the current generation he inspired are now out-kitsching the creator leaving Stardom Road more show tunes than show stopper.