Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
It is only when you look into the eyes of a woman and see the girl that she used to be, do you notice how much Time has either enhanced her or taken its toll on the heart. There is no in between, the girl that was never stays in the same place, she is subject to more rigors and tests than many will ever realise and it is in her eyes that Life. Love. Flesh. Blood have all taken their fair bite or kissed her gently.
Imelda May arguably has had both the kiss and the bite, the sense of being caressed gently by her own incredible passion for music artistry and the bite that left its mark across time when things didn’t go perhaps as planned or as desired. Yet in that bite, not quite one from a vampire, not one that leaves a scratch either, she is resolved to commemorate the past as though it is a knot of knowledge that needs to be slowly unpicked, to be untangled down to its final fraying slice and then looked over with interest, to be seen with retrospection; only in this is the girl allowed to breath, allowed to play in the light and what a shining arena the woman has at her disposal.
Imelda May takes the songs from Life. Love. Flesh. Blood and makes the listener look down the barrel of the kaleidoscope, the images of a woman’s life distorted, the pain from loving, from bleeding and living, all mixed up until the view makes sense, that a woman’s life is as complicated as a man’s, something that still many men outside of art find difficult to understand. It is in the music that Imelda May opens wounds, opens the fire and it is a special recognition when it hits home.
In tracks such as Should’ve Been You, Human, How Bad Can A Good Girl Be, the outstanding Levitate and The Girl I Used To Be, Imelda May is surely at her wondrous best, a sense of calm in a firestorm, a rose that is the only flower or tree remaining standing after a hurricane has devastated everything else around it; it is not without its marks, its scars because of the ravaging winds, but it is all the more beautiful for it as it flourishes under the now appearing sun.
Imelda May is not for breaking, like all women, they should be allowed to flourish beyond the constraints imposed by a dogma that has persisted disgustingly as the hangover from Victorian society; a special album, a fantastic beast.
Imelda May’s Life. Love. Flesh. Blood is released on April 7th.
Imelda May is at the Philharmonic Hall on Monday 15th May.
Ian D. Hall