Why Cherry is going to be the flavour to watch in 2014
The return of Neneh Cherry to the fray with a new abum “Blank Project” due in February
It’s Cherry time again. One of the albums already marked with yellow highlighter for 2014 is the first solo album from Neneh Cherry in 16 years. “Blank Project” (title track below) will be released at the end of February and will feature production from Four Tet, collaborations with RocketNumberNine and a guest appearance from fellow member of the Swedish idiosyncratic pop brigade Robyn.
It may have been a decade and a half and then some since Cherry released an album with just her own name on the cover, but she hasn’t been idle during this time. Last year’s “The Cherry Thing”, a collaboration with Nordic weirdbeard jazzers The Thing, was a thing of great, wonky, kooky wonder.
That well-received album of free-spirited covers of tracks by Suicide, Ornette Coleman, The Stooges and others is well worth seeking out as a lesson that not all acts from days bygone simply rehash their past or become a heritage act when they go back into the studio.
But Cherry was never destined to do the obvious. Remember she played a leading role in Bristol scene jazz-punkers Rip Rig + Panic, something which predated her “Raw Like Sushi” pop life and the various peaks which punctuate her back-pages like “Buffalo Stance” and “7 Seconds”.
Add in her father Don Cherry’s background as a jazz trumpeter and a childhood spent hanging with Talking Heads, Arthur Russell and Miles Davis and you’re dealing with a pop star not simply content to do what everyone else does.
Even without the classy cast of collaborators onboard for the ride, “Blank Project” would be notable just for the fact that it’s a Cherry album. At a time when many acts from the past attempt contrived or cock-eyed reinventions, here comes Cherry, someone who has always favoured following her own star. That, it turns out, is usually the best policy.