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3.6 out of 5 stars
28
3.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star). See all 28 reviews
on 31 August 2011
This got a pretty good write-up in the Guardian, who are not easily impressed. So, being gullible, I bought it. It starts with a cover version of 'Martha my dear', a well-known McCartney vehicle. You wonder why people do cover versions of Beatles songs, as they are so hard to better. Unfortuntely, Madeleine not only fails to add anything to it, but you wonder at one point if she is even going to carry it. Will she reach the high notes in the middle eight? 'Hold your head up you silly girl, see what you've done....' Instead, the second number would have been a much better opener, as it is fairly up-tempo with a lovely sinewous guitar throughout. The disc then opens out into a nice gentle groove of a new take on bluesy popular music. She even does a very eerie version of Robert Johnson's Love in Vain. Throughout, her voice has the vulnerability of Peggy Lee. However, although most of the songs are partly self-penned, she does not sound as if she really takes command of them.
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on 5 July 2011
Bravely, if cautiously, stepping out of her comfort zone Madeleine Peyroux's latest album is something of a schizophrenic affair. It works best on those tracks where she dares to be different; less so on the more familiar straight jazz-vocal arrangements, where by and large the songs themselves are not sufficiently noteworthy to jostle for position with better examples from her back catalogue.

But where it's good, it's very good. A dark, sinister and avant-garde reading of Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain" is as effective as it is surprising; we're deep in Robin Holcomb territory here. Similarly, the title track - all stuttering, staccato guitars and a vocal hinting at hidden menace - is enthralling. Further unexpected pleasures arrive in the form of "The Kind You Can't Afford", a stylish collaboration with Bill Wyman, whilst an insistent guitar riff and a fine guitar solo lift "The Things I've Seen Today" out of the ordinary.

Elsewhere, though, there's a sense of déjà vu on a number of tracks; all impeccably performed in Madeleine's highly distinctive style but too many lacking that real killer spark. Fifteen tracks long, the album as a whole might have benefited from jettisoning two or three of these.

There are some really top-notch players on board here, including New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint and Tom Waits' guitar lieutenant Marc Ribot, who add their own recognisable gloss to the proceedings.

But it's the experimental stuff that opens the door to some fascinating future possibilities. At the moment, the artist appears at the crossroads (Robert Johnson would have understood!); to the right, the familiar comfortable and well-trodden jazz vocal path; to the left, a musical Twilight Zone. Which way will she go?
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on 9 September 2014
I love Madeleine Peyroux and in my opinion she has an amazing voice. I was disappointed with this album though. I get the impression that she is experimenting with different styles and for me, I found this style a bit dreary compared to her earlier albums. I will probably continue to buy her cd's but I doubt if I will play this one as much as the others.
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