CD: Neneh Cherry - Blank Project | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Neneh Cherry - Blank Project
One-time Brit-hopper returns to solo arena on top form
“Good things come to those who wait” sings Neneh Cherry on “Everything”, from her new album, and the 17 years since her last solo album certainly has been a long wait. She’s right though - Blank Project has good things in abundance.
RocketNumberNine provide industrial beats and a backing that is sparse and frequently conveys paranoia and feelings of pressure and claustrophobia. This has been shaped further by producer Kieran Hebden, of Four Tet fame, into sounds that often suggest Massive Attack or ambient dubstepper Burial. At times Blank Project also recalls the arrangements of Neneh’s 2012 collaboration with Swedish punk-jazz trio The Thing, The Cherry Thing. High on rhythms and percussion and low on conventional melodies, it certainly isn’t easy listening but is frequently bold and challenging, with harsh electronica providing the only accompaniment to Neneh’s warm vocals. That said, there is no way that Blank Project could be described as soulless, as it still suggests a qualified optimism throughout.
“Across the Water” begins the album with a slice of beat poetry and a sparse drum sound. This then fades into the spikey electronica of the title track, a sound echoed in pieces like “Spit Three Times” and “Everything”. There are other textures too, with grooves like “Dossier”, “Weightless” and “Out of the Black” (a duet with Robyn) that in a parallel universe would be filling dance floors across the country, as well as the beautiful post-industrial torch song, “422”.
Blank Project is the work of a true musical eclectic who never seems to follow fashion but often finds herself leading it. It is an emotionally raw album that sees her collaborating with an edgy electronic sound while addressing real subjects like motherhood, relationships and lust in a complex world. It’s good to have her back, still exuding the sassiness that has been her signature since she exploded into public consciousness with debut single “Buffalo Stance” in 1988.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Renowned fusioneers give themselves studio space to play
Yet more outings for essential but oft-reissued albums by two seminal British bands
Crossover jazz star returns to his roots
Beyoncé's personal and political project is dark, visual and deeply spiritual
The Indian raga slide guitar genius talks Hawaii, Brighton, punk rock and more
From Emmylou Harris to German jazz to London techno, all the new vinyl action is here
Legends and up-and-coming stars are recognised at the third Jazz FM Awards
Spectral electronic balladry from rising LA-based Australian talent
An evening of unearthly delights with the Wise Ol' Man of rock'n'roll
Eno paints another masterpiece
Georgian charm and high-quality roots music make for a delightful programme
The Nest Collective celebrates a decade of the best in folk and world music