Published Oct 16, 2018Esteemed Swedish singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry has returned with her first LP in four years, a collaboration with partner Cameron McVey, and producer Four Tet, by the name of Broken Politics. Cherry uses this record to connect with the pain and injustice of the world through the lens of her experience: as one individual navigating a fractured landscape. She meditates on issues such as gun violence and the global refugee crisis, while exploring her own questions, joys and ability to persevere.
With the exception of "Natural Skin Deep" — a brash, air-horn filled banger that takes a wonderful left turn into jazz — Broken Politics is calmly paced. Four Tet crafts soundscapes that feel made for Cherry's voice and melodies, as she gracefully recites, "Push my buttons best / Unravel just the seams / I have come undone / In the fabric of our dreams," on opener "Fallen Leaves." She couples images of violence with gentle, emotive passages, exploring this duality throughout the record.
Lead singles, the 3D- (of Massive Attack) assisted "Kong," and "Shot Gun Shack," lope along with immense power and clarity — the former soaring, as Cherry states that she is a "member of shattered illusions." "Shot Gun Shack" haunts and rattles, ensconced in warm bass and beats that are twisted by eerily climbing melodies. There is a melancholic, reflective air on Broken Politics too — as heard on Cherry's "slow jam" "Synchronised Devotion," a piano-led musing on her identity as a "Pisces, hanging from the vine," Four Tet's playful xylophone and a fluttering rhythm complementing Cherry's poetry.
Broken Politics is an expansive and heartfelt collection of songs — a communication from within one of the most singular artists working today, articulating the nuances of where politics start for many: in one's day-to-day existence. "Soldier" is wrapped in looping harp, with Cherry freestyling — asserting herself through play to the record's end. (Smalltown Supersound)