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The Marmite Factor ( I Love It ! )
on 7 December 2012
Martha Wainwright is never going to be everybody's cup of tea. She wasn't
born to surf the mainstream and has always been comfortable in her own
distinct musical territory; an uncompromising artist whose deeply personal
muse sometimes touches nerves which we might wish were better left alone.
Then there's that voice; guttural, rough and ready (in the best possible way)
and with the capacity to make your hair stand on end if you'll just let it in.
Powerful, emotional and ready to reach into the darkest corners of the soul
in the service of authenticity. A Marmite voice if ever there was one and love
it or hate it (I love it!) it's an honest, affecting and unique instrument.
'Come Home To Mama' is the third album of her own compositions (with the
exception of the beautiful 'Proserpina' written by her Mother Kate McGarrigle)
and contains some of her strongest material. Producer Yuka Honda is another
maverick at heart and brings a rich immediacy to the recording. The voice is
always well-forward in the mix; the instrumental arrangements serve the music
well with their occasional judicious use of electronics to enhance a remarkably
diverse sonic palette. The collaboration has clearly been a fruitful one.
From the blistering opening bars of 'I Am Sorry' with its foursquare pounding
percussion and grinding electric guitar riffs; through the upbeat, almost
radio-friendly melody of 'Can You Believe It?', sporting some fruity honking
sax decorations and the sublimely winding vocal line of 'Leave Behind', we sense
a songwriter working at the top of her game. The beautiful final track 'Everything
Wrong', however, garners the crown for what is very probably Ms Wainwright's
finest moment; a song of such bruised intimacy that we almost feel that we should
not be listening. A defining moment in the career of a truly great songwriter.
If you don't know her already please do take this opportunity to become acquainted.