Random Access Memories
Neneh Cherry is always at her best when working with musical mavericks.
Although she made her name with a stream of brilliant pop-rap crossover hits such as Buffalo Stance and Manchild in the late 80s, Cherry first emerged as the singer of Rip, Rig & Panic, a riot of a band who applied post-punk attitude to the anything-goes experimentalism of avant-garde jazz.
Having lived a low-profile life in Stockholm for the last decade, Neneh is back with an album of (mostly) covers recorded with The Thing, a Swedish free-jazz trio who have previously tackled songs by PJ Harvey and the White Stripes.
The Cherry Thing is skew-whiff, chaotic and exciting from the off. Cashback, the only new song written by Neneh, is relatively melodic and could have featured on her classic 1988 Raw Like Sushi album, but thereafter it's all a glorious cacophony of freeform parps, blares and improvisations.
The material could hardly be more leftfield – New York electro-drone rockers Suicide, Iggy Pop's rock-and-roll terrorists the Stooges, gothic turntablist MF Doom and, sweetly, Golden Heart by Neneh's stepfather, jazz trumpeter Don Cherry – yet Neneh stamps her exuberant personality all over it.
It may be too far-out to catapult Neneh Cherry back onto the charts, but The Cherry Thing is a glorious comeback.