Imelda May: Mayhem (Universal)

 |   |  1 min read

Imelda May: Sneaky Freak
Imelda May: Mayhem (Universal)

Irish singer Imelda May Higham started her profesional life singing folk, rock'n'roll and rockabilly but has made her way towards saucy, raunchy old-time jazz while losing none of her original passions.

Which is why on the recent Jeff Beck tribute to Les Paul she could weigh in with everything from rockabilly to haunting torch singing, so much so that you could have been mistaken for thinking there were a number of singerson hand - yet they were all her, even the backing vocals which she multi-tracked and pre-recorded for the shows.

This album, her third, with her band and guests in a New Orleans-style horn section (clarinet, trombone, double bass) along with fiddle is a life-affirming afair which roams freely across all those genres and has a tightness tht befits the twanging rockabilly guitar sound as much her jaz manoeuvres.

And she's one smart songwriter who can also pen what sound like standard in these various genres. The bonus track -- a remixed Johnny Got a Boom Boom from her last album -- sounds like the Stray Cats cutting a rug in a New Orleans dancehall. Equally she offers a lamplight ballad Kentish Town Waltz which has a lyric akin to those poetic-realism songs which Shane MacGowan used to pen at his peak.

So there are snappy rockabilly songs here (Let Me Out), rocked up party pieces with NO-styl trumpet (Proud and Humble which has religious lyric and joyous fervor) and straight-up Fifties-framed rock'n'roll with a slightly Cramps/rebel edge (Psycho, Pulling the Rug).   

These taut songs all sound like singles in a better radio world (in the UK it has sprung four so far) and Imelda May well on her way to becoming a household name, preferaably in a club near you.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Ha The Unclear; Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go (bandcamp)

Ha The Unclear; Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go (bandcamp)

And now for something completely different . . . Singer-songwriter Michael Cathro who fronts this oddly-named band is a real one-off. His accent is unashamedly antipodean: He pronounces the... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

One of the nicest things about small indie artists is the care they lavish on the presentation of their low-key albums. Witness the delightful Tokey Tones albums or even the more rough-hewn albums... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE explains the addiction of stockcar racing

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE explains the addiction of stockcar racing

I blame my father for my addiction. Week in, week out, he dragged us kids along to Waikaraka Park Speedway for “Stockies” on a Saturday night during the Seventies. At first it... > Read more

AND ANOTHER 10 SHAMEFUL RECORD COVERS I'M PROUD TO OWN

AND ANOTHER 10 SHAMEFUL RECORD COVERS I'M PROUD TO OWN

Further to previous confessional postings along these lines (here and here), this is another installment in albums bought on the basis of their cover art -- although "art" is perhaps far... > Read more