David McAlmont

David McAlmont (born David Irving McAlmont, 2 May 1967, Croydon, England) is a British vocalist and songwriter.

Early years and Thieves

McAlmont first came to attention in the London band Thieves, a duo in which he sang over highly detailed musical backings created by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Saul Freeman. Thieves fused elements of soul and funk with post-punk and pop textural arrangements - comparisons included Marvin Gaye, Cocteau Twins and Scritti Politti. The band attracted early attention with the 1992 single "Through The Door", their unusual combination of black and white-indie musical ingredients, and McAlmont's startling dress-sense at live gigs (he was once described as "a strawberry daiquiri in a dress.") Thieves were pegged as future stars on the release of their second and most memorable single 'Unworthy' (which was reminiscent of Gaye's "What's Going On" as reinterpreted by Cocteau Twins and featuring zeitgeisty/subtextual vocal samples from 'Torch Song Trilogy' and '30something').

Despite the release of a third single, "Either", Thieves split acrimoniously in 1994 shortly before the release of their first album. Following legal wrangling, the album was eventually released as the debut David McAlmont album (under the project name and album title of McAlmont). Despite some very positive press attention, much of it still focussing on McAlmont's startling voice (Melody Maker journalist Taylor Parkes commented "One day he will open his mouth and a cathedral will fall out"), the album did not sell particularly well.

(Saul Freeman went on to form the band Mandalay with Nicola Hitchcock. He and McAlmont were reconciled in 2000, but have not worked together again.)


McAlmont continued his solo career - including a stint providing support for Morrissey on tour - until he was approached by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. The collaboration produced The Sound of McAlmont and Butler, an album of songs, including the anthemic and defiant "Yes" (1995) which reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.

McAlmont and Butler did not tour and made only two public performances; one small show at the Hanover Grand and one appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops. They also performed "Yes" on the BBC TV show Later with Jools Holland. Another single, "You Do", was released later that year, and peaked at number 17. Shortly after McAlmont and Butler went their separate ways in an acrimonious split, which was the subject of much music press coverage and speculation.

The producer David Arnold then worked with him on a version of "Diamonds Are Forever", for which McAlmont appeared in a camp video, dressed in a white cat-suit trimmed with fur and feathers. They went on to work together in 1998 on McAlmont's second album A Little Communication (arguably his first true solo album).

In the years that followed McAlmont worked occasionally with Ultramarine and Craig Armstrong, and prepared his third album Be. Although hailed by The Guardian as "Britain's first Zen Pop album" it was shelved by his record label, Hut Records, which also chose to drop McAlmont from its artist roster. Although the album has yet to be released, some demo discs occasionally change hands at premium prices.

In 2001 Bernard Butler found himself writing songs that suggested the voice of McAlmont. They got back together, were signed by EMI and created the album Bring It Back (2002) which spawned two single releases, "Falling" and "Bring it Back". This time they were more conventional in their approach to the music industry, and took part in interviews, and completed a series of public performances throughout 2002.

Recent times

In 2005 McAlmont released "Set One You Go To My Head" on Ether Records. The label folded at the end of that year. McAlmont performed material from that album at various Jazz Venues including Ronnie Scott's.

In 2007 McAlmont provided backing vocals for Gabrielle's album, with Paul Weller on a song called "Why" which sampled Weller's "Wild Wood". Bernard Butler approached McAlmont to provide backing vocals for Duffy on Rockferry and for Sharleen Spiteri.

A Little Communication his follow-up to the first McAlmont And Butler album was digitally reissued on the 23 June 2008 on ITunes etc. A performance of the complete album will be hosted by the London Jazz Festival on the 16 November at The Jazz Cafe in Camden.

See also


External links

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