Marc Almond – Stardom Road
In October 2004, a serious motorcycle crash left Marc Almond in a coma for two weeks. Following a lengthy recovery process and a gradual return to music-making,Stardom Road is effectively his comeback album.
Having vowed to turn his back on future songwriting, Almond has recorded just one original composition, the disappointingly mawkish Redeem Me. The rest of the album is given over to a selection of covers, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, which trace a clearly autobiographical path.
The songs are given full orchestral arrangements, with no lingering traces of Almond’s electronic roots. Instead, he is reborn as an accomplished, almost conventional cabaret crooner, blending stately grandeur with high emotion.
Selections range from the familiar (Strangers In The Night, Dream Lover) to the obscure (London Boys, penned by a pre-fame Bowie, and a bizarre mash-up of Paul Ryan’s Kitsch with T.Rex’s Hot Love). Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell and Antony of The Johnsons make equally splendid guest appearances.
Although Almond’s intensely dramatic vocals will win few new converts, long-time fans will instantly warm to this intriguing and frequently affecting collection.