Album: Marc Almond, Varieté (SFE/Cherry Red)

Varieté is a record that feels as though it’s happening in the dive from Brel’s “Amsterdam”.

Relishing his role as the Caruso of the lowlife, Almond returns to the orchestral gypsy pop sound he first dabbled in with Marc and the Mambas, all flamenco flourishes and roses between its teeth. It’s an autobiography and also a hymn to the underground. Marc’s having his “life is a cabaret, old son” moment, sounding like a man who, having survived neardeath scrapes, is determined to squeeze life for its every last drop.