There’s only one Marianne Faithfull and, against all odds, she’s still with us.
Her new album, No Exit, is a compilation of performances from her 2014 tour and she is in absolute crackling form, reinventing her back catalogue with the vigour and enthusiasm of a young newcomer.
Getting up close and personal with the listener, she sings like she’s at a party, a gathering of friends with their ears abeckoning for her fanciful tales.
And that voice.
It’s the voice of survival - damaged and cracked from living too close to the edge for too long, charred from standing too close to the fire and imbued with the dark, raw humour of someone who, quite possibly, has actually seen everything.
She sings of the dark stuff - you can’t get much more harrowing than her vividly visceral version of Sister Morphine – but she tempers it with a sense of blissful joy at just being around to do what she loves to do – As Tears Go By is sweet and playful, while The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan, an extraordinary tale of ordinary madness ends with an uplifting “Love, love, love”.
She deals these numbers out with versatility and a massive depth of scope, bleeding vulnerability on Lake Victorian Holocaust and blasting ferociously on Mother Wolf, all the while serving the song, as any great singer will.
She keeps highly qualified company, her admirers including the admired – Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Keith Richards and so on – and, like the aforementioned and similar artists such as Leonard Cohen, she has created a legacy which keeps on growing as she continues performing and recording in a manner that is true to the spirit she has always maintained.
No Exit sees no dimming of her passionate light, indeed quite the opposite. It’s in turn fiery, rambunctious, subtle, raw and sincere.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.