Alison Moyet, "The Minutes" (Cooking Vinyl/Metropolis Records)

Alison Moyet is not trying to impress you. True to her punk roots, the English artist didn't make "The Minutes," her first studio album since 2007, to please anyone. And, by doing so, she has created a remarkable collection that takes her rich contralto to new edges.

Moyet, the iconic voice in the 1980s synth-pop duo Yazoo (aka Yaz), revives her electronic roots here, merging with an experimental blend of synth sounds that express modernity, technology and introspection. Producer Guy Sigsworth has built brilliant moments into the album's fabric, demanding listeners be armed with good headphones.

Moyet's voice is at its most complex and her lyrics are darkly poetic, in perfect defiance of commercial conventions. As she proclaims on "Right as Rain," an ubercool club piece, "If you can't be happy with me, be unhappy with me, stay unhappy with me."

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