10 Fakten zu Wendy James und ihrem neuen Album:
Rather than trying to pick a beauty shot or find some silly outfit to wear that I’m probably going to be irritated to look at in years to come, the easiest thing for me to do was just pretend I’m at home lounging on the sofa with no clothes on.
Wendy James has finally returned with what is the best work of her career.
If Transvision Vamp were pristine pop punk and Racine a dark trip hop trip the current Wendy is classic New York new wave scuzz- a place were flick-knife words and the steaming sex of the city combine with dangerous and thrilling rock n roll. The new songs have the dark poetic sunglasses cool of Patti Smith and Wendy has never sound in better voice as she delivers the brilliant lyrics perfectly with a wounded intimacy and directness that really suits her singing.
The best of the album – ripe garage belters such as “Bad Intentions and a Bit of Cruelty”, “You’re a Dirtbag, Lester” and, especially, the simple yelping rockabilly of “Why Oh Why Do You Hurt Me Still” – lives up to its innate New York underground ideals but, unfortunately, James’s lyrics and delivery often just don’t cut it. There’s drastically miscalculated Lou Reed-style talk-singing, precocious squeaking, wince-inducing lines such as “I play a liquid guitar – I’m a stone hustler”, and an unconvincing self-consciousness, imitating decadent heroes to an edge of desperation. Also there’s the cover image of James lying supine, looking worryingly thin with her breasts exposed. The cumulative effect is to prompt concern for her overall well-being.
In truth, I hadn’t really thought of Wendy James in about 27 years so was intrigued to dig around and hear what she’d been up to. I was surprised by the Devil-may-care dirtbag narco attitude of her last two albums. They are well worth a listen, as are about five songs on this one (especially the Bob Dylan cover). The rest, however, is clunky and misses its target.
This girl has proved she can sing and wail and yet it feels like she holds too much back in reserve, most songs remaining pastiche and leaving you frustratingly unsatisfied. The talky vocal sounds at times like someone reading the lyrics for the first time and trying to fit them to a backing track, overall and I’m very sad to say, it’s unlikely to reignite her solo career despite the credibility of the band recording with her.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some shining lights of hope in ‘Bad Intentions and a bit of cruelty’ where it’s a constant punk rhythm and an angsty James singing “You gonna give me what I want?”, but I can’t help but feel we aren’t really getting what we wanted here either.
‘You’re a Dirtbomb Lester’ builds across a thumping riff and beat and is quite unrelenting in it’s attitude, but just when you think the album is finally turning a corner, we get a too soft rockabilly pop tune called ‘Why Oh Why Do You Hurt Me Still’ complete with annoying squeaks and ooh noises.
‘You’re So Great’ and ‘It’s Alright Ma’ are quite superb, but they are both covers and reserved for the last 2 tracks of the album and unfortunately you have to wade through some tiresome glib ramblings and sting after sting of bland, before you get to the honey. The price of the ticket is just too much I’m afraid.