Maggie Connell The Luxury Of Sadness

Connell is a former member of ’70s new wavers the Heaters, but this is her audacious solo debut. Its ten tracks were recorded completely solo at her home and sweetened with a few studio overdubs. She co-produced and even provided the artwork. The Luxury… boasts a big, thick, idiosyncratic sound and a wealth of unconventional song structures. It’s arty as hell and filled with plenty of drama, oblique lyrics and musical left turns. There are spoken passages, samples and skewed vocals. The overdubbed multiple vocal lines overlap and intersect, while song titles like "Diagram Of Rage” and "I Wish I Was Alice” give you a hint at what to expect. If you want comparisons, think a less self-conscious Tori Amos, or maybe Kate Bush, with the helium in her vocals replaced by argon. Other recognisable influences include the Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, Sinead O’Connor, and Siouxsie & the Banshees. "I Slip On Rainbows” is psychedelic, non-linear and totally mesmerising; I can’t get enough of it. "I Eat Children” is deliciously black-humoured. If you had described the record to me the way I’m describing it to you, I’d be prepared to despise it. Instead, I’m completely entranced. Normally something this leftfield, and we’re talking the culvert in the rail yard behind the parking on the other side of the bullpen here, can’t help but sound contrived and self-conscious, but there’s not a whiff of that here, it’s utterly compelling. (Frigidisk)