Sonja Kristina - Anthology album review

Double-CD retrospective charts curveball career

Cover art for Sonja - Kristina Anthology album

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Renowned as Curved Air’s singer, Sonja Kristina has dabbled in a parallel solo oeuvre, from which she’s personally compiled this first ever best-of selection. In the 60s she starred onstage in Hair, replaced Sandy Denny in Strawbs for one gig, then joined Curved Air while working as a Playboy Club croupier. In the early 70s she routinely won Best Female Vocalist polls. Later she became a university music tutor.

A rich life, then, and the music here displays her restless versatility and desire to sample different styles. It’s hard to find a unifying theme, until you realise that her unerringly confident voice is a reassuring companion in any genre.

From hippiedom to punk, from psychedelia to acid folk, she’s stepped through any looking glass offered. There’s an acoustic version of Motörhead’s I Don’t Believe A Word, a new Greg Lake tribute (C’est La Vie) and a bombastic blast of Carl Orff (with Curved Air ally Darryl Way). Yet it’s when she’s doing her own thing – notably on her 1980 solo debut – that the sounds offer the most sensitivity and seduction.

Full Time Woman and Man He Colour enchant, as does 1995’s Angel. She bends any music to her will.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.