wed 17/10/2018

CD: Andy Bell – Torsten the Bareback Saint | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Andy Bell – Torsten the Bareback Saint

CD: Andy Bell – Torsten the Bareback Saint

Erasure man’s theatrical evocation of a mythical life of longing, love and exploration

Andy Bell's Torsten: 'he had found a love so real, so pure'

“A theatrical pop song-cycle of musical postcards from the hotspots of memory from a semi-immortal polysexual sensualist’s life” is how the fourth solo album from Erasure's Andy Bell describes itself. The story and album begin with “Freshly Buggered”, where Torsten, born 1906, arrives at school to tell all that he is gay. “He had found a love so real, so pure” declare the lyrics.

The extraordinary Torsten the Bareback Saint can't fail to provoke, raise a smile and carry anyone along with its sheer verve. Torsten’s itinerant life is evoked in 22 songs portraying encounters, frustration, obsession – “Mobile Fucked” is a funny encapsulation of the removal technology brings – reminiscences and, ultimately, the failure to find true love.

Musically, Torsten is collaboration between Bell, playwright-lyricist Barney Ashton, composer Christopher Frost and arranger Mike Allison. The CD comes in a nicely designed book with the full libretto and photos of Bell in the role, but the music alone is hard to digest as the album is so chock-full of imagery. Conceived for stage (with artistic director Predrag Pajdic), it may work better as a live experience. The extra dimension brought by staging feels essential to a full appreciation of this ambitious work. See it live if possible.

Overleaf: watch the video for “I Don’t Like” from Andy Bell is Torsten the Bareback Saint

Watch the video for “I Don’t Like” from Andy Bell is Torsten the Bareback Saint

'Torsten the Bareback Saint' can't fail to provoke and raise a smile

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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