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A sign of things to come,
This review is from: Electric Landlady (Expanded Edition) (Audio CD)
For `Electric Landlady' (coined by long-term collaborator Johnny Marr who rented a flat from Kirsty) Kirsty brought forward a new latin sound that had caught her ear after working on David Byrne's `Rei Momo' along with a Fania All-Stars LP that she had cherished for some years prior. The most striking example of this inspiration is the `My Affair' track, which stands out as a masterpiece through and through which Kirsty proudly performed up to her very last gig. This latin influence would reach its pinnacle with a very Cuban sounding `Tropical Brainstorm' while for the most part of `Electric Landlady' we are treated to generous, subdued lashings of horn and string sections which deviates from the contemplative country-rock `Kite' entirely but still somehow takes its place.
There's also an urban and almost grimy undertone with leading single `Walking Down Madison' and criminally understated `Lying Down' which boasts one of Kirsty's best lyrics amidst siren-like wails of electric guitar. On the opposing end of the spectrum there's even a trace of folk-rock with the heart-wrenching serenity of `The Hardest Word', written by Kirsty and brother, Hamish for their father. The Pogues follow-up their Kirsty duet `Miss Otis Regrets' by playing out the last track of the album `The One And Only' which is an iconic Kirsty moment and features, justifiably, as the subtitle of Salvo's reissue campaign.
Plenty more lacklustre men take a clobbering with not so lacklustre `He Never Mentioned Love' and single number three `All I Ever Wanted' in true Kirsty-style with razor sharp wit and Shangri-La harmonies. Not to imply that Kirsty is at all callous: `We'll Never Pass This Way Again' isn't tragic because it sings of a disappointing lover or happiness gone wrong; there's no right or wrong here, just a selfless and very painful ending. I haven't even begun to talk about the (sadly) still-relevant `Children of the Revolution', a beautiful track composed by Johnny Marr and written by Kirsty which tells of the real victims of a world at war. It reads like poetry and plays like art, at parts taking on a mock-naivety to really drive home the point; `Murder comes by sea and from the skies / It's shiny and it's quick to take their lives'.
Kirsty effortlessly pulls songs together with her faultless and infectious voice; sometimes tempting, sometimes dangerous; She shows herself as an incomparable lyricist with a wit, wisdom and wordplay unmatched whilst her musical ear remains tuned to perfection. Meanwhile husband Steve Lillywhite handles the production, knowing exactly how to measure Kirsty's vocals. From a clinical point of view this album is inconsistent in its wide and diverse range, however its beauty and its talent and its knowledge played and sung by experts of the trade hold it together effortlessly and seamlessly. So enticing and so alluring you really won't find yourself thinking `Now that folkie track came out of nowhere', you'll just be glad it did.
This reissue is chock-full of b-sides and remixes with the friendly and familiar faces of The Pogues and one Mr. Billy Bragg to sweeten the deal; fill your boots, there isn't a throwaway song in sight. Some of the disc-2 tracks are among my very favourites, but at the risk of typing an essay I'll leave you re/discover those for yourself. Digi-packed with lyrics and some shots of Kirsty and the page-long list of musicians, which serve as a reminder of just how admirable these artists are and what a tragically rare and beautiful thing a Kirsty MacColl album is. Enjoy every second; albums like this are very few and very far between.