Come Home To Mama Import
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.Label: V2.Published: 2012
The Wainright-McGarrigles are the family that just keep giving. And given the mainstream appeal of brother Rufus’ most recent album Out of the Game and this fourth album from Martha, they want to give to as many folk as possible.
Much has changed chez Martha in recent years – marriage, motherhood and the death of her mother Kate McGarrigle. The fury of her attention-seeking Bloody Mother F***ing Asshole ballad and the pain of the album I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too have been moulded and tempered.
This process of growing up began on the 2009 live album Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, à Paris: Martha Wainwright's Piaf Record, and now Come Home to Mama. The album is almost shockingly great. Martha’s Piaf-like stab at emotional rollercoaster torch song is well documented, but not this level of subtlety and control.
This might well be down to working this time with another woman, Yuka C Honda (the instrumental half of New York-based Japanese duo Cibo Matto) instead of Wainwright’s producer/husband Brad Albetta, whose programming/producing touch shapes the album’s warm, intimate, expansive slopes.
Come Home to Mama is not limited to any folk, torch or soul source, nor an overtly 1970s brief like Out of the Game; it sounds singularly out on its own, likewise Wainwright’s voice. Even when she’s emoting ecstatically on Some People, it doesn’t resemble the protesting or sometimes exhausting figure of Martha’s past.
Motherhood has a lot to answer for. It’s not a direct musical comparison but, recorded after Elizabeth Fraser’s first baby, Cocteau Twins’ album Heaven or Las Vegas was bathed in a potent, golden glow, and that’s how Come Home to Mama feels. The Fraser-like touches of I Am Sorry and All Your Clothes are perhaps incidental, and the Al Green mood of Can You Believe It, the slinky pop provocation of Radio Star and the torchy lullaby of Proserpina, written by her mother, are certainly far from ethereal la-la land.
This is more Laura Nyro, Barbra Streisand (hear Leave Behind), Phoebe Snow… or, rather, more Martha Wainwright. Who here has realised her best record to date.
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Top customer reviews
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.
In an age where there are some very good but very unoriginal sounding female vocalists, her voice is one of the most compelling there has been for a very long time. Piaf could only have been so lucky as to have someone with this voice and vocal control attempting her songs.
Never one to shy away from personal and intimate subjects, this may be her most directly personal collection of songs yet, both in subject matter, and of course the astonishing version of one of her late mothers songs "Proserpina". It says something of the strength and impact of a song when, in a family home where the age's span 5-44, each and every member has been singing this song around the house since it was released as a single a number of weeks ago.
The album does have a very contemporary, but ageless sound to it. The choice of producer, Yuka Honda - a female artist/producer who clearly understands and compliments Martha's work, was a sublime choice.
This is the time of year, leading up to Christmas, where the number of new releases is verging on ridiculous, however if you are looking for an artist of originality and beauty and an album which will enrich your collection, please buy this one.
There are also other very good songs, like "Proserpina", which has a heavy pathos, like a theatre or film song.
I heard Wainwright in Oslo in 2011 in a double gig with her father. I am such a big fan of Loudon III that I partly overlooked Martha. I shouldn't have. Martha Wainwright seems to have dared to let out her extraordinary talent and made a great record. I distribute it among friends for Christmas (legally, if you wondered).
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