Out in the City -- 4 stars -- "The Glare...well-crafted, heartstring-tugging, quietly beautiful little gems"Oct 30th, 2009
For someone who possesses one of the most beautiful and arresting voices in popular music, David McAlmont commits himself to record all too rarely. Maybe mainstream record labels consider him just too darn gay for a deal. Maybe he has trouble finding complimentary songwriters with whom to work (although 1998’s A Little Communication proved he’s more than capable of going it alone). Regardless, he’s now come up trumps by uniting with acclaimed composer Michael Nyman. Rather than creating new tracks, McAlmont has taken some of Nyman’s existing works and added vocals to them, taking his cue from a wide variety of subjects and newspaper stories.
For example, the moving ‘Secrets, Accusations and Charges’ finds him singing about a Scottish widow he read about who masterminded a jewellery heist, laid over a track formerly called ‘The Departure’ from Nyman’s soundtrack for the film Gattaca.
The music, as you’d expect, is beautiful, as is the singing, and fortunately, most of the time, it’s a marriage that works, as exemplified on the sombre yet stirring ‘In Laos’, ‘Fever Sticks and Bones’ and ‘The Glare’ (inspired by Susan Boyle!)
Some Nyman purists might be sniffy about their favourite tracks being sung over, while McAlmont devotees might wish that ‘that’ voice was allowed a little more room to soar, but these are minor quibbles.
For the most part, these are well-crafted, heartstring-tugging, quietly-beautiful little gems.