Imelda May: Mayhem

Album review
Imelda May: Mayhem

Imelda May


Label: Decca
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

Its heyday had about the lifespan of a mayfly but rockabilly has had a habit of cropping up in slightly altered form throughout every rock ’n’ roll era. Ireland’s fetching cool kitty Imelda May Higham has taken a page out of Brian Setzer’s playbook and crafted a modern- age version of rockabilly that includes the occasional horn section but also a fiddle and even her own bodhran, and as a producer places it all in a hot, teeming soundscape across the channels, with her voice riding dramatically over it all. It’s a charged up, raucous, flirty workout, and Imelda can deliver that sandpapery Wanda Jackson belting style with plenty of verve and personality. Her original songs betray a flair for clever depictions of love affairs both wild and tainted (the lone cover is a powerhouse rockabilly recasting of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”), delivered with the sort of infectious personality and unabashed sensuality otherwise trademarked by Ms. Jackson. Interesting digressions include the acoustic-based “Proud and Humble,” a thumping, dark- hued confession of spiritual conflict, and “Kentish Town Waltz,” a subdued, affecting song of love born of adversity, its slow-boil intensity spiced with horns and fiddle supporting Imelda’s warm, reflective testimonial. Somewhere, Carl Perkins is smiling. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Imelda May
  • CD
  • Brian Setzer, Nitro Burning Funny Daddy
  • Wanda Jackson, Rockin' With Wanda

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