Graham Reid | | 1 min read
It has been about 20 years since the formidable Grace Jones menaced us, but she's back and her opening salvo on this typically groove-oriented album is her declaiming "this is my voice, my weapon of choice".
And that track This Is marries a Sly'n'Robbie Caribbean sensibility (and sensimilla) with the Serengeti. It is larger than life, much like Jones herself.
It's quite some guest-heavy album -- Brian Eno, Tricky, Wally Badarou, Tony Allen among them -- but of course this is Grace's industrial-disco reggae-dubbin' show.
Throughout she gets uncharactistically autobiographical: the melodic Williams' Blood recounts the story of her mother, a singer who performed with Nat King Cole -- but then launches into questions of her own identity as the energy, anger and buzzing guitars rise. And it ends with the opening bars of Amazing Grace, just to remind you who we are dealing with here.
Musically this album is clearly grounded in that remarkable trilogy of the early 80s -- Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Living My Life -- and the synth'n'guitar turbulence of Corporate Cannibal here (once it finally gets going after 90s seconds of leaden scene setting) broods with robo-techno malice.
That these three tracks -- This Is, Williams' Blood and Corporate Cannibal -- open Hurricane initially suggests a classic Jones album, but things go rather more wobbly after that: I'm Crying is a love song and sentimental ballad about her mother which breaks the glowering mood, Sunset Sunrise later is an eco-plea which also sounds at odds with the other prevailing moods.
Well Well Well and Love You To Life sound just too closely cut from the Nightclubbing cloth to be adding anything new, and the self-aggrandising title track never quite takes off -- and it too stumbles to a start with evocative but annoying throat-clearing.
Jones is now dangerously close to 60 so to expect her to be in the vanguard as she once was would be silly. When she gets in those three killer punches however she proves she is on top of her game (and in very good production hands).
Elsewhere though the returns are either disappointing or overtly familiar, which makes this maybe half and a wee bit of a great Jones album.
The remixes should be quite something.