Imelda May – Mayhem

January 01, 1970



Straddling a formula that falls somewhere between the
assertive insistence of Chrissie Hynde and the troubled torchlight croon of the
late Amy Winehouse, British chanteuse Imelda May demonstrates a startling
diversity on her Decca sophomore set, the cleverly dubbed Mayhem. While the album title deliberately plays off her surname,
all’s in control here. In fact, Mayhem is remarkably well paced, transitioning from rollicking up-tempo tunes like
“Pulling the Rug” and “Eternity,” to the brassy vamps “All for You” and “Bury
My Troubles,” as well as the bedroom ballads “All for You” and “Too Sad to
Cry.” May’s coolly confident; various stints with Jeff Beck and Jools Holland,
and an early string of independent albums have prepped her well for an
emergence into the spotlight.


Consequently, if there’s a sense of déjà vu in this
seductive set-up, it’s clearly well intentioned. Several well-worn genres are
prominently represented here, with rockabilly, blues, swing, and surf guitars
all melded into the mix. Fortunately, May avoids strict imitation by using
those influences to inform and inspire a wide array of possibilities. With a
crack band at her disposal, her sassy saunter is given full sway, and
considering the fact that 14 of the 15 tracks originate from her own pen (a
kinetic cover of “Tainted Love” provides a perfect mesh), May’s mastery of
classic sounds further serves that sultry stance. If the pundits’ pronouncements
are any indication, May seems destined for stardom, and given these compelling
performances, she’ll likely attain that stature soon.


DOWNLOAD: “Pulling
The Rug,” “All for You,” “Tainted Love” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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