Marc Almond — Chaos and a Dancing Star — Album Review

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Electronic | Ballad Pop

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Last Friday, we had another great batch of albums to get stuck into. While it technically was the very final day of January 2020, I still felt that these albums felt far more fitting as February instalments, as just one day would not be nearly enough time to have a final opinion of one album, let alone three.

That’s right, I had three albums to listen to on Friday 31st, but the two I discovered first, I felt had to be sat on for a short while longer, so that I can cover the newest album from Marc Almond; Chaos and a Dancing Star.

The latest solo project from electronic mastermind Marc Almond (of Soft Cell fame), serves as my (inexcusably late) introduction to his solo work. I have, of course, enjoyed a lot of what Soft Cell released. however, Almond’s solo discography, on its own, is incredibly extensive. With a solo discography of well over twenty albums, It did feel slightly daunting to go into this project critically, as I would need to spend a fair while listening to, at the very least, bits and pieces of Almond’s solo material to bridge my enormous gap of experience with the artist and his music. But Chaos and a Dancing Star, just seemed far too gorgeous to ignore.

But after skinning over albums like 1990’s Enchanted, 96’s Fantastic Star, and 2010’s Variete, it suggested to me that the 2000’s marked the beginning of Almond writing more stripped-back, matured, and ballad-like hits, as I found everything before 2003’s Heart Of Snow to still be fairy similar to the style of Soft Cell respectively.

But even after finally listening to some other Almond projects, Chaos and a Dancing Star seems the most reflective and recluse of them all. There is an insanely strong sense of Almond reflecting upon his own mortal fragility, in a way that is truly artful.

Even from the tidbits of what I knew of Marc Almond, I do really respect him as a marvellous songwriter. This newest album really does do that level of lyrical expertise a marvellous justice, with its regal, and almost archaic sound which I absolutely adore.

To elaborate further on the reflective theme of this album, I cannot ignore just how ultimate and final the whole thing sounds, both lyrically and musically. Ot seems this way so strongly to me, that it’s almost worrying. Chaos and a Dancing Star really does feel like it could be Almonds final album, but I am hoping that if that is the case, it would be that way before the artists retirement from music, rather than the same kind of unfortunate passing we had been cursed with after the release of David Bowie’s Blackstar.

But final or not, there is no denying just how much of an artful album this is. While there seems to be a strong theme of death and mortality, there is also the occasional track which sticks out as unique amongst the rest. Slow Burn Love especially, really contrast with the grim majority of the album, with one of the most wholesome and warmingly grand sounds I’ve heard so far in 2020.

While some of the more ballad-like tracks feel a bit more patience testing than others. I feel that Chaos and a Dancing Star is overall, a stunningly gorgeous piece which shines with its regal sound. I am indeed very glad to have finally listened to Marc Almonds solo music properly, and you know what they say; better late than never.

Favourite Tracks: Dust | Slow Burn Love | Lord of Misrule

Least Favourite Track: Chaos

BMG

8/10

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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