The Academy, Dublin: Saturday 16th February, 2019.
Plus special guests, Greentea Peng
Doors 7pm | Over 18's | ID Required
How do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? By what metric do we judge our own capacity to make change? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? Neneh Cherry's extraordinary fifth solo album, Broken Politics, asks these questions and more—searching for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It's a record that's equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent electronic pop.
Work on Broken Politics began as touring wound down behind Cherry's previous full-length, 2014's Blank Project, as she felt a drive to continue creating after collaborating on that record with Four Tet's Kieran Hebden and production duo Rocketnumbernine. "That last album was much angrier and forceful, whereas this one is quieter and more reflective," she states. "I haven't always been so good at getting things out so quickly, and it still took a while—but that's okay." After a studio session of writing and refining with longtime partner and collaborator Cameron McVey in late 2016, Cherry sent some demos to Hebden as he was flying back to New York after attending a wedding in Los Angeles.
Hebden, McVey, and Hebden then decamped to Woodstock, New York for a week-long recording session at the Creative Music Studio, a recording space founded by jazz pianist Karl Berger—who, in a stroke of providence, was a band member of Neneh's father and legendary jazz musician Don Cherry in the 1960s. "Being in a studio with them was like being in a familiar space," she says about working in the studio of family friend Karl and his wife Ingrid. "It was easy to reach into myself for the feelings I needed to be in tune with a song—and at night, Cameron and I would have dinner with Ingrid and Karl and they'd tell stories about my father. There were deep threads."
"I have a name. You have a name. We're not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground," Cherry proclaims when talking about her worldly vision that seeped into Broken Politics. "We're human beings with lives and stories." Art can often remind us of how it feels to live in the moment, and it can also be instructive in helping understand how to preserve that moment. Broken Politics finds Cherry at her most generous and benevolent towards a world that is often anything but. She puts it best in the chorus of "Fallen Leaves," in her own defiant way: "Just because I'm down/ Don't step all over me."