- Released: April 22, 2002
- Label: EMI Europe Generic
- 1.Stars We Are - (studio)
- 2.These My Dreams Are Yours - (studio)
- 3.Bitter Sweet - (studio)
- 4.Only The Moment - (studio)
- 5.Your Kisses Burn - (studio)
- 6.Very Last Pearl - (studio)
- 7.Tears Run Rings - (studio)
- 8.Something Gotten Hold Of My Heart - (studio)
- 9.Sensualist - (studio)
- 10.She Took My Soul In Istanbul - (studio)
- 11.Frost Comes Tomorrow - (studio)
- 12.Kept Boy - (studio)
- 13.Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart - (studio)
Personnel includes: Marc Almond, Nico.
Personnel: Agnes Bernelle, Suraya Ahmed (vocals); Chris Tombling, Philippa Holland, Sally Herbert, Gini Ball (violin); Chris Pitsillides, Jos Pook, Sue Dench (viola); Christine Jackson, Audrey Riley (cello); Derek Hannigan (clarinet, bass clarinet); Julia Girdwood (oboe); Enrico Tomasso (trumpet, flugelhorn); Annie Hogan (piano, keyboards, vibraphone, marimba); Billy McGee (keyboards, double bass); Steve Humphreys (drums, timpani, percussion, programming, sampler); Bob Kraushaar (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Pete Schwier; Bob Kraushaar.
Recording information: Matrix Studios London 88.
Photographers: Mark Langthorne; Huw Feather; Andrew Catlin.
Arrangers: Billy McGee; Marc Almond; Annie Hogan.
Another year and another label for Marc Almond, along with a newly stripped-down band, La Magia, with Willing Sinner vets Annie Hogan, Billy McGee, and Steve Humphreys on drums. Even more so than Stories of Johnny, this is Almond with an eye and ear on making a commercial record while still being himself, and the result is much better than expected. Bob Kraushaar's production feels much lighter and brighter in general than Mike Hedges' past efforts, and the songwriting often matches it -- the sprightly opening title track, followed by the tenderly passionate "These My Dreams Are Yours," makes for what has to be the most upbeat start to a Almond album yet. Similar moments crop up throughout the record, including "Bitter Sweet," with a killer sweeping chorus, the sparkling, slightly jazzy "The Very Last Pearl," which gives pulsing nightlife one of its best makeovers ever, and a triumphant, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink version of Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart," replaced on later versions of the album with the U.K.-chart-topping duet with Pitney himself. That said, it's still an Almond album through and through -- the lighter songs still have his sweet purr in the vocals (and Hogan's keyboards and instrumental arrangements remain uniformly excellent), while moodier and expectedly dramatic numbers still turn up in abundance. The forceful duet with Nico, "Your Kisses Burn," calls to mind prime Lee and Nancy, with masses of strings to boot; elsewhere, "The Sensualist" acts as his clearest statement yet on the many erotic joys life has to offer. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, "Tears Run Rings," his most overtly political number to date, became a minor U.S. hit. ~ Ned Raggett