Imelda May “Life Love Flesh Blood” (Decca, 2017)

This is the first album from Imelda May since 2014 and it is impecably produced by none other than the legendary T Bone Burnett. The style represents a change of direction from the Dublin born singer who has emerged from the break up of her 18 year marriage with an album concentrating on matters of the heart. However, this is not introspective soul searching work but rather well thought out and intelligent songs about the human condition.

To prove this, Human is upbeat, has a great hook and is a very infectious pop orientated piece. There are some famous names assisting May on this release and on the ballad Black Tears the guitar of Jeff Beck is featured giving a very good song an unmistakable trademark bluesy edge. When It’s My Time is a straight up gospel number number that you can imagine being given the treatment by a church choir from the deep south of the USA. It is authentic and features unmistakable organ backing from Jools Holland which lends the track real atmosphere and direction. May shows her raunchy side with the sensual and suggestive Sixth Sense and How Bad Can A Good Girl Be and signs off with a sensitive autobiographical tune, The Girl I Used To Be.

However, whilst it was recorded over only a seven day period in Los Angeles be in no doubt that this is a highly polished offering from a lady with a powerful voice whose style here is akin to straight forward pop. A good album, but some rough edges would have been good here and there.

Author: Michael Farley

Living in North London allows me access to many great music venues so I can get to see as many Americana and Bluegrass (yes I love Bluegrass!) acts as I can. My other passion is football and I follow the North London team with the Cockerel as it’s badge. Thankfully I have a fantastic wife who shares these obsessions or else I would probably be single by now!

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