After hinting that his 2010 Varieté album would be the last to feature original material from him, Marc Almond was convinced to change his mind by LA-based British music producer/songwriter Chris Braide—whose list of A-list clients include Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and David Guetta—who he’d never even met.
“I simply had to get in touch to try and tempt him to do the exact opposite. It was such an absurd idea to think there would be no more new Marc Almond original songs. This is the man who wrote ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ and we need more of those passionate, unique and original songs. Just like Bowie and Bolan before him, he’s a true original.”
Hear, hear! I like this Chris Braide, fellow!
Braide sent Almond three songs written especially for him, over the Internet. Although the two men communicated daily over email, they never even spoke on the telephone or met up in person until after the album was completed, so as not to disturb the chemistry of what they were cooking up together.
“I felt the songwriting muse had left me, possibly forever. Then an email arrived with three instrumental tracks. I got goose bumps. I was blown away. Chris had an understanding of the chord changes I adored, of the sounds I loved; songs in minor keys with big dark dramatic pianos and strings. I sat down to write, both excited and inspired. Three songs were written in a matter of days: ‘Minotaur’ a dramatic song about rage and animal passions, ‘Scar’ a torch song about deception and ‘Winter Sun,’ a melancholic reflective song about fading love.”
The idea was to create the “ultimate” Marc Almond record, and I must say, as a long (long) time Marc Almond fanatic, The Velvet Trail comes pretty close. Is it the equal of his 80s solo material? Perhaps not, but it’s closer to that level of rarified quality than he’s produced for years (which is really saying something). The idea of Marc Almond paired up with someone who produces Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and Britney seemed quite intriguing to me. I played The Velvet Trail the first time and thought “Okay, that’s pretty good, but whatever…” and then the next day I woke up with several of the songs (especially the duet with Beth Ditto posted below) on repeat in my skull, craving to hear it again. And again. And again…
Almond with be touring the UK in support of The Velvet Trail throughout April. The album is available in a regular CD digipack, as a limited edition CD/DVD combo and as a limited edition double LP with poster and two bonus tracks
Here’s my favorite track from the album, a catchy-as-hell duet with Beth Ditto of The Gossip, “When The Comet Comes.” It’s pure pop perfection. Play this song twice—I dare you—and just try getting it out of your head. It can’t be done.