The lead cut to Anna Madorsky's new release immediately sits you up in your seat, eyebrows arched, mouth open. What happened to the Goth-girl of Incantation (here), her last album? Blending a regressed Debbie Harry, Lene Lovich, the Bangles, and psychedelically glittering insistence, Madorsky has awakened something that had been lurking beneath the surface last time out. My suspicion is she's been tilting an ear to James Blackshaw, John Cale, and a bunch other fairly esoteric characters, incorporating elements in nearly every cut here with incidentalist abandon. Bad Fairy, for instance, is practically a midnight menu of stylistic collisions and even sinks into some of the pure sound experimenting that PBK was so adept at. Glitch-heads and weird-faces are going to relish the sheer melodic oddness of it all. Then there's the insistence and drive in Evidence of Me, a propulsion that gets right beneath your skin.
No doubts here, Talk is Cheap is a radical departure from Madorsky's last appearance, but it's also an advance on the 80s work of Siouxie & the Banshees, Blondie, Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, the Divinyls, etc., when the women were also pushing pop and chart possibilities up a level or two. Marking Time, however, returns to the gauzy, spooky, foggy beauty of Incantation, managing, as before, to get a hell of a lot out of just a trio, Romantic figurations returning like monoliths as the song builds and deepens. Letting into Reinforcements, the ethereal strain is maintained, but more Tori Amos-ish, angsty while chamber-set.
Talk, then, reveals that Madorsky is far from set in her ways, exploring a vitality and compositional freshness putting to shame any suggestion that she's going to stamp-press matters. I suspect this music will escape more than a few critics but not the public, especially that sector impatient for the new and the innovative. Culling from a broad array of past and present flavors and modes, it falls squarely in no camp, and that can be upsetting to the staid among us. Active listening is required, for one, but that's not to say there aren't many elements also quite familiar though transmuted, such as the Mission UK-ish sonic narrative in Lazy Heart. Don't listen to this disc until you find yourself tired of radio banality and in need of something that refreshes as it enigmatizes and beguiles.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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