When you don’t make an album for sixteen years you can expect your musical style to change. The Swedish singer Neneh Cherry has made music you most likely know, look up ‘Buffalo Stance’ or ‘7 Seconds’ and then listen to Blank Project and there almost made by different people. There’s less of a dancefloor/trip-hop feel to this album, it leans more towards art-pop than anything, and it’s come of well.
Opener ‘Across the Water’ doesn’t do much, it doesn’t explode at any point, it’s more of an art piece, just from track one is this album going to be too pretentious? I hope the self-titled track will change that for you. The powerful bass reminds us that Neneh Cherry has produced big hits in the past and Neneh’s lyrics are great ‘does my ass look big in these new trousers/my ego won’t let me/I forget’. The chorus runs along and almost feels like a Magnetic Man song (that one with Katy B?)
There is a continuing strive for a feel of art with the ethereal nature of ‘Naked’ and ‘Weightless’ which creates this quiet moment in the middle of the song before wakening up with a fat electric growl.
‘Cynical’ has a really good beat that Neneh keeps up with ‘don’t think I’m so cynical know I’ve found my sound’. I feel a bit off about ‘Out of the Black’, a collaboration with fellow Swede Robyn, whose voice just feels a bit weak and soft to compliment Neneh, Robyn ends up very much in the background instead of a feature, that’s how I see it anyway.
Blank Project might be too ‘artsy’ for you but oh well, guess you won’t be listening to Swans anytime soon then. The album is dark and chic but it will drag in odd places with ‘Dossier’ feeling like an odd re-hash of the songs that preceded it and ‘Everything’ ends the album a little limply. However, Neneh has a really good sound on this album, the punchy squelchy bass sounds provide plenty of energy and her vocals are still as strong as ever, don’t doubt this album.