Review: Marc Almond with Michael Cashmore - Gabriel & The Lunatic Lover (2008)


artist: Marc Almond with Michael Cash­more
release: Gab­riel & The Lun­atic Lover
format: CD
year of release: 2008
label: Durtro, Jnana
dur­a­tion: 12:04

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

This single by Marc Almond and Michael Cash­more was recently released by Durtro. We know Almond from Soft Cell, who had an eighties hit single with “Tain­ted Love”, and from his solo work. Michael Cash­more is one of the most import­ant com­posers for Cur­rent 93, Nature and Organ­isa­tion and more solo work. This little record con­tains two beau­ti­ful bal­lads, for which poems by a cer­tain Count Sten­bock (1860−1895) were used. A pho­to­graph of this good man graces the back of the book­let. On the cover and book­let, we see some styl­ish painted por­traits of Marc Almond, made by Vania Zouravliov. In short, the present­a­tion is well taken care of.

And now about the music itself. “The Lun­catic Lover” starts a capella with Marc’s beau­ti­ful and subtle vocals, and is quickly sup­por­ted by harp and gui­tar. Dif­fer­ent instru­ments - all played by Michael Cash­more - provide exactly the right accents through­out the song. One shouldn’t expect any Cur­rent 93-like bal­lads here. These two com­pos­i­tions are quite dif­fer­ent, with more influ­ences from clas­sical music, and a bit more orches­tral, which high­lights Cashmore’s ver­sat­il­ity as a com­poser. The music reminds me the most of The Snow Abides, where Ant­ony (of Ant­ony and the John­sons) takes care of the vocals.
The second track, “Gab­riel”, is my per­sonal favour­ite. I love the poem, and the accents on piano and subtle back­ing vocals (apart from acous­tic gui­tar and other instru­ments) make this a breath­tak­ing song. I’ve listened to this many a time in the late even­ing hours, or dur­ing the rainy days that fill our Dutch sum­mer. In the end, the song closes with a beau­ti­ful cli­max.

Two excel­lent tracks and beau­ti­ful art­work make this an unmiss­able addi­tion to your col­lec­tion. I hope the gen­tle­men found their col­lab­or­a­tion equally suc­cess­ful as I did, and that we may expect more beau­ti­ful mater­ial in the future. I’m look­ing for­ward to it!

Reviewed by D.M.K.

Track­list:

1. The Lun­atic Lover (6:10)
2. Gab­riel (5:54)