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Possessing one of the most distinctive voices in rock, Marianne Faithfull is the kind of singer who makes songwriters all but drool over the prospect of working with her. She's proven a remarkable foil for many folks over the years, from Mick Jagger to Billy Corgan to Robert Wilson, and this time around, she joins forces with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, both of whom are totally conversant in the language of bleak beauty that Faithfull speaks so fluently. (Other songs are penned by Blur's Damon Albarn and Aimee Mann collaborator Jon Brion.) Harvey, who handles much of the disc's production, puts her imprint on several of the songs, lacing them with the sort of taut guitar lines and white-knuckle mood shifts that mark her own work -- particularly the tense "My Friends Have." Cave, on the other hand, seems eager to defer to Faithfull, accentuating her bruised delivery with raw, windswept austerity (on "There Is a Ghost") or sheer sonic bedlam (the edge-of-sanity chantey "Desperanto"), with musical muscle provided by most of the Bad Seeds. These two tunes gain added heft from Hal Willner's production, which draws out the singer's torchier tendencies without egging her on to full-on cabaret moments. As is her wont, Faithfull switches gears completely toward the end, throwing open the otherwise hermetically sealed environment for a performance of Jon Brion's "City of Quartz," which wafts through the air like an urbane lullaby. Poisonous? Perhaps, but what a way to go.


The Mystery Of Love
My Friends Have
Crazy Love
Last Song
No Child Of Mine
Before The Poison
There Is A Ghost
In The Factory
City Of Quartz

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  • Store location: Upper Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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