Martha Wainwright Strips Down Her Usual Theatricality on 'Love Will Be Reborn'

BY Daniel SylvesterPublished Aug 19, 2021

Martha Wainwright has never been shy about the fact that she comes from one of Canada's most famous musical lineages. She has recorded songs with her brother Rufus and aunt Anna McGarrigle, covered her father Loudon's songs, and has participated in tribute concerts for her late mother, Kate McGarrigle.

That's why it's no surprise that her latest, Love Will Be Reborn, is an album about and dedicated to family — just not in the typical manner fans are used to. Produced by Pierre Marchand (who's recorded albums for her brother, mother and aunt), the album finds Wainwright moving away from her stark and confessional lyrics about love and lust. Instead, tracks like the quivering, twangy "Getting Older" and the skeletal "Report Card" find the Montreal musician tackling issues related to motherhood and domestic life. But this doesn't remove any of the passion from Wainwright's delivery, as she pushes her smoky voice beyond its limits on the adventurous title track and the playful and upbeat "Hole in My Heart."

As her past releases heavily featured well-selected guest musicians (particularly her last LP, 2016's Goodnight City) Wainwright recorded this album in the basement of her Montreal café, Ursa, with a band including Josh Cole of Vancouver jazz ensemble the October Trio and Thom Gill and Phil Melanson of Toronto indie-poppers Bernice. This has helped give songs like the surprisingly beefy "Being Right" and the soulful "Body and Soul" a more intimate feel than her previous releases. Working with Marchand has also brought out an earthy sound from Wainwright, as the pulsating album opener "Middle of the Lake" and the Stevie Nicks-esque belter "Rainbow" veer on alt-country's sense of dusty drama.

The album's closing track, "Falaise de Malaise" marks two firsts for Martha, as the song is sung completely in French and the piano accompaniment marks the first time she plays an instrument on an album, as her soaring voice usually fulfills that requirement. Though the tail end of the LP drags thanks to throwaway dirges like "Justice" and "Sometimes," Love Will Be Reborn is nonetheless as surprisingly and pleasingly intimate and stripped-down of an album you're going to hear from someone as naturally theatrical as Martha Wainwright.

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