Martha Wainwright - I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
Three years have passed since Martha Wainwright's startling self-titled debut and, in that time, big bro Rufus has released his fifth studio album, toured the world (often as Judy Garland) and announced plans to go into hiding for two years to work on his very own opera. Sibling rivalry wouldn't be a surprise then but, with second album I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, Wainwright does the sensible thing and doesn't try to outdo her bro. In taking this approach, she very nearly does.
That stunning first album was a collection of bohemian folk that showcased Martha's impeccable voice and way with words - remember Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole, anyone? The lead single here is Bleeding All Over You, which is home to the album's Grade A title and establishes a more layered, commercial 'band' sound. Nevertheless, it's soaked in bitterness and features lyrics as brilliant as 'You moved up north and got a farmhouse/There's cowshit in your brain and love in your heart'. The obvious follow-up single choices would be Comin' Tonight and You Cheated Me, where she aims squarely for the radio - especially on the latter's catchy-as-hell chorus - without sacrificing her bruised honesty.
It's when she applies her voice to something less upbeat though where she excels, such as on the eerie Tower where the Chrissie Hynde influence is dropped and she goes for some Kate Bush vocal elasticity instead. Add in imagery of dead hearts and soldiers on fire, and you have the most twisted thing she's done so far. In the Middle of the Night is equally as dramatic, wherein she repeats the ominous line 'There's a limousine outside and I know who it's for'. One assumes she's singing about death, also explored on her tribute to a dead friend The George Song, which keeps the dramatic flourish but has a more celebratory feel; it also happens to feature a support spot from, yup, you guessed it: Rufus.
Heartfelt ballad Niger River, a dedication to her producer husband Brad Alberta, and a cover of Pink Floyd's See Emily Play are two other highlights but it's fair to say that this is an entirely successful follow-up to the debut. Who knows? Give her a few years, and she might be making her own opera. Of course, at that point, Rufus will probably be America's first all-singing, all-dancing, all-gay president.
Look out for a live Martha Wainwright review very soon.