Review:"No Exit" - Marianne Faithfull

by Nicola Jones,

No Exit, Marianne Faithfull’s brand new live album, takes you on a jagged journey through the best of her 2014 tour.

Featuring 10 live tracks recorded at various locations where the 60s It-girl celebrated 50 years in showbiz, the album most certainly evokes an astute insight of a woman who has well and truly been there, done that!

Falling Back bursts the album wide open with fantastic musicianship supporting Faithfull’s now haggard voice after a cool and simple “Intro”. The intimate sound created at the start of the album is to follow throughout, after all, Marianne has previously described herself as a ‘chanteur de fin de nuit’, meaning ‘a late night singer’. It just wouldn’t feel right to listen to Faithfull at 2 PM on a Tuesday afternoon! She’s much too cool for that.

Following on, the nonchalant entitled Love, more or less, co-written with Tom McRae posses a melancholy melody juxtaposed against a feeling of freedom. As Faithfull reflects, “anywhere I choose is best” she has an endearing way of telling the tale of a search for happiness whilst looking back on past romances…

Then, midway through the album, we meet a more cracked and gravelly version of her 1964 hit As Tears Go By. Greeted by an applause of recognition, the audience seem to relish hearing this well known track, even if it is a more coarse rendition, as Faithfull coaxes the audience to help her finish the end of the song, and they do so.

What’s been described as a highlight on 2014’s Give My Love To London, Mother Wolf is certainly a fantastic moment live also. Co-written with Patrick Leonard, this sinister song envelops fear with its steady rhythm and hard-hitting piano accompanying Faithful’s raw and raspy voice as she commands her troops with messages that tear from her throat.

Then we come to the ‘Junkie corner’ as Faithfull puts it with Sister Morphine, a track Faithfull wrote with her former Rolling Stone beau, Mick Jagger as well as Keith Richards. The Nick Cave written Late Victorian Holocaust follows this before the mood shifts to one of joy with the Roger Walters penned Sparrows Will Sing.

Finishing the album, one off Marianne’s most popular tracks to date, 1979s feminist anthem The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan. Written by poet Shel Silversten, it depicts the story of a suburban housewife, longing to break free from compounded everyday tedium, to a merry-folk tune, which leaves the crowd audibly happy and Faithfull even more so as she ends her performance exclaiming “love, love, love!”

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