(5 / 5)
The first ever expanded re-issue of Marc Almond’s 1990 sixth studio album. “Enchanted” – saturated in Marc’s signature poetic romanticism and credited with some of his finest lyric writing.
The original album is replicated on the first disc of this deluxe triple disc set (2 x CD + 1 x DVD) with all six ‘B-sides’ which originally featured across the various formats of the album’s three singles.
The second CD here presents a selection of the original album demos – a more acoustic intimacy.
This second disc also showcases the various commercially released spin-off extended versions and dance remixes of the album’s singles; “A Lover Spurned”, “The Desperate Hours” and “Waifs and Strays”.
The last of which was remixed by Soft Cell partner Dave Ball, in his guise as one half of electronic dance act The Grid. The three more instrumental leaning remixes close proceedings on this second disc.
The third disc of this lovely set is a DVD of all three promotional videos commissioned for the album.
The first, “A Lover Spurned”, is directed by Pierre et Gilles and co-stars the glamorous Parisian transsexual icon Marie France. The other two, “The Desperate Hours” and “Waifs And Strays” were directed by John Maybury, understudy to Derek Jarman. Maybury who went on to direct his own feature film, “Love Is The Devil: Study For A Portrait Of Francis Bacon” in 1998.
The cover of this special capacity wallet three-disc edition features its original sumptuous Pierre et Gilles artwork. The all new, full-colour 28-page booklet boasts two further Pierre et Gilles images. There’s also a special message of memoir from the two0 artists, alongside a written introductory appraisal of the album by official Marc Almond biographer Jeremy Reed.
The comprehensive booklet also includes the full album and ‘B-sides’ lyrics and a transcription of the original 1990 Parlophone press kit interview with Marc Almond, alongside a number of official Parlophone promotional photographs from the period.
The album, additional to its pronounced electronic pop production, is a journey through the world music influences that Marc was listening to at the time. “There are Indian bhangra influences on the track ‘Death’s Diary’, Middle Eastern influences on ‘Orpheus In Red Velvet’, Brazilian lambada on ‘Carnival of Life’, Celtic flavourings on ‘The Sea Still Sings’ and Latin drama on ‘A Lover Spurned’,” he explains.
The album’s lush lead single, “A Lover Spurned”, is a classic Almond power ballad of unrequited love, with thrilling production by Stephen Hague, employing a thunderous 48-piece orchestra. It’s quite something.
30 tracks across the two CDs, plus the three videos on the DVD. The tracks may have been recorded just over three decades ago, but this stuff sounds so fresh and so utterly fantastic; to remind us all just how unique and gifted Mr Almond was and still is.
Marc dropped 25 solo albums between 1984 and 2020 – plus the Soft Cell and Marc And The Mambas releases across his career. But I think “Enchanted” is just the tip of the iceberg in reflecting what he’s all about musically. He cannot ever be second-guessed or pigeon-holed.
That said; if you are not that familiar with his work, other than the hits, then this set is a damn good start. If you are already a Marc Almond fan, I am preaching to the converted….
Some music writers churn out words such as “Epic”, “Genius” and “Faultless” in reviews as often as changing their socks. Not me. But in this case, all three are warranted: Triple A rated = Absolutely Awesome Almond!
By Kelvin Byrd
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’