Alison Moyet still has one of the most emotive and intoxicating British voices ever.
Chris Long 2007
Alison Moyet’s list of achievements speak for themselves - BRIT awards, top ten albums, massive record sales – but since her eight year sabbatical, her previous high levels of quality control haven’t been sounding the alarm bells.
As a result, her last two outings, 2002’s Hometime and 2004’s Voice, were, to put it bluntly, a little bit rubbish. Overblown and underwritten, they were enough to make you wonder why one of the finest British voices of the 80s and 90s had bothered returning.
But then, her mind has been on other things, chiefly treading the boards, where she’s taken the Moyet-made role of Mama Morton in Chicago and then stretched herself opposite Dawn French in Smaller.
It’s that production that makes the sturdy base on which The Turn is built. Three of the songs – “World Without End”, “Home” and “Smaller” – were written for the play, and that theatrical infusion spreads across the other seven offerings.
That such an input would send her back towards the direction of her brilliant best is hardly a surprise. After all, her finest moments have always had a melodramatic edge – think of the power of “This House” or kitchen-sink drama of “Ordinary Girl” – and while there is nothing here that hits those heights, the heartbreak of “One More Time” and the off-kilter splendour of “The Sharpest Corner (Hollow)” are worthy additions to her canon.
Yet the obvious intent to write for the stage that surges out of every song means that they also all stick to a mid-tempo performance beat, ripe for a little acting when they’re sung live, and that robs the album of real light and shade, though the furious "It’s Not The Thing Henry" does shake the bars as best as it can.
The Turn is no blistering return to form to sit proudly alongside the real gems of her career - Hoodoo, Raindancing and Alf - but it is satisfying nonetheless, and it’s a welcome reminder that Alison Moyet still has one of the most emotive and intoxicating British voices ever.