CD review -Imelda May -Mayhem
Who knew the new queen of rockabilly would be found in Dublin, Ireland? On her second release Mayhem, Imelda May and her outstanding band are out to solidify her reign.
Appropriately released on Decca Records, this fantastic collection of fourteen new tracks and one cover song, all recorded with retro flair. With modern sensibility, the songs feature ringing surf guitars, popping bass and drums, wailing horns and powerhouse vocals.
May is a stylish chanteuse who delivers tongue twisting sing-along lyrics full of sass and wit with a coquette charm like Greta Garbo meets Cyndi Lauper. Her partner in crime, husband Daryl Higham, channels Eddie Cochran on his signature Rockingham guitar with deft skill throughout the album of dance hall hits.
The mixture of jump blues, country swing, vaudeville, surf rock and classic rockabilly on stand out tracks “Pulling the Rug,” “Sneaky Freak,” ” Eternity” and “Mayhem,” all have an irresistible familiarity. May even makes the macabre sound sexy as she purrs the line “I love your nails, even your entrails,” on the bouncing “Inside Out.” She does let her Irish heritage shine through on the lovely “Kentish Town Waltz, while the bonus remix of May’s first hit “Johnny Got a Boom Boom,” is an instant classic. The playful cover of Soft Cell’s 1981 hit “Tainted Love,” takes the tune to its true roots as a jump blues shout.
Mainstream radio last had a rockabilly hit in the eighties from The Stray Cats, a band who also showed world how to swing, Imelda May is destined to follow suit and create a little “Mayhem,” along the way.
Rick J Bowen
Originally appeared in Innocent Words Oct 2011