Published Nov 07, 2014In a career that spans nearly half a century, how does an artist stay interesting? Marianne Faithfull has always worked with diverse producers, co-writers and instrumentalists, bringing new perspectives and dimensions to her albums while maintaining her unique and distinctive sound. On Faithfull's latest album, Give My Love to London, the collaborations work best when they contrast with Faithfull's signature weathered chanteuse persona, giving a new background for her unmistakable voice.
The album opens strongly with "Give my Love to London," co-written with Steve Earle. It's a country-punk, urban folk stomp, equal parts "Hey nonny nonny" and "Hey ho let's go." Tracks like "Falling Back" (co-written with art-rock guitarist Anna Calvi,) and the scathing and powerful crone monologue "Mother Wolf" are also standouts. The album's less interesting tracks aren't failures, but they do sound too much like songs Faithfull's done before. The album's two collaborations with Nick Cave sound so much like you'd expect from these two musicians together that they end up feeling superfluous, while the dirge-y, three-quarter-time "True Lies," written with Ed Harcourt, is much the same.
Listeners who want a typical Marianne Faithfull album will no doubt be pleased with Give My Love to London in its entirety. But her departures from her usual sound are so delightful that it makes one a bit disappointed when she reverts to form. (Easy Sound)