Marianne Faithful : Horses And High Heels
Marianne Faithful has been around the block more times than Brendan Fevola has been subject of screaming tabloid headlines. But while Fevola languishes in the VFL trying to arrest his football career from the same terminal decline that has beset his personal dignity, Faithful has weathered the storm of addiction and emotional drama and evolved into the dignified stateswoman of the permissive rock ’n’ roll generation.
With her latest record, Horses And High Heels, Faithful affirms two particular attributes: firstly, the ability to create music that exudes an emotional depth that only comes from genuine experience; and secondly, to assemble a cast of supporting musicians and contributing songwriters able to bring to life Faithful’s particular musical talent.
On the latter attribute, Horses And High Heels features songs from Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, aka The Twilight Singers (The Stations), Carole King and Gerry Goffin and Jerry Leiber (Past, Present And Future), with guest musical performances from Lou Reed and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer.
Yet it’s in Faithful’s bleeding raw delivery that the album succeeds: The Stations is eerie, like a condemned woman recounting a life lost to the dark side of existence. The discernibly Stones-ish That’s How Every Empire Fails is haunting to the point of spinal shivers while Love Song is as bashful as a starry-eyed teenager. By way of contrast, on No Reason Faithful gets down and dirty, playing footsy with Kramer’s shop-rat guitar licks.
Of the original compositions, Prussian Blue has a loose-fitting pop sensibility and plenty of ravaged attitude, Why Did We Have To Part could be autobiography, allegory or anything in between. On the title-track, Faithful swaggers through the narrative of a life balanced precariously between privilege and excess.
Marianne Faithful will never escape her past; indeed, far more than any of today’s ephemeral pop stars, Faithful is an almost mythical construct contrived by rumour and innuendo. Horses and High Heels confirms there’s life in the old dame yet.
Best T rack: Horses And High Heels
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In a word: Faithful