Martha Wainwright – Come Home to Mama – album review

Martha Wainwright – Come Home to Mama (V2)
CD / DL / LP
Released 15 October 2012

A change in style for Martha Wainwright, but does it take things to another level or fall somewhat short of the mark?

First things first, do you remember (all you oldies at least) when you first saw/heard Madonna and the music and image had a real edge and was exciting?

Her image was almost punk! Check it out – and then it all changed, the music became blander as she started selling Sex (literally, eventually).

I saw her boobs more than my own. All very disappointing.

Well, I was gutted when I saw this album cover. Really Martha, I thought you were better than this.

Written in the aftermath of the death of her mother, singer Kate McGarrigle, Martha’s third album finds her trying perhaps just a little too hard to be different.

I (perhaps criminally) have always ignored the likes of Adele etc, as the music has never done much for me, however I always thought Martha was different. Lyrically exciting, musically different with a unique voice – what isn’t to like? She seems to have forgotten this on the first few tracks but soon regains the quality of previous albums.

Martha seems to have decided to take a leaf out of every R&B (the crap American version of it) singer by fitting 15 octaves in each line of a song. It’s just not necessary.

It’s not until track four, “Proserpina” that some of the older Martha rears her head, with a beautiful piano led ballad with some nice harmonic vocals and subtle strings. Her mam would have been proud of that one!

The songs vary from ballad to a ’70s funk influence to ’80s style electro with a hint of Kate Bush, especially on the track “Four Black Sheep”. There are hints of her brother Rufus throughout as well (not the opera bits).  The musicians are again of the highest order however, I found the production slightly muddy and a tad bass heavy.

I still find myself slightly disappointed. After the Pink Floyd covers and lovely songs about her dad I had really high hopes. Anyway maybe my hopes were too high. There are some really great songs on here but not enough to make it a classic.

Maybe next time? And please keep your clothes on.

All words by Nick Wood. You can read more from Nick on LTW here.

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