Review - Before the Poison

Artist: Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull knows her limits and, thus, understands the importance of collaboration. It was Beck and Billy Corgan for 2002's Kissin' Time. It's PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Blur's Damon Albarn and producer Jon Brion (Aimee Mann) for this batch. The guitars turn too callous on several of the PJ Harvey cuts ("My Friends Have" and the title track) – Faithfull's young at heart, but a woman her age has no reason to raise her voice – and "Desperanto" is an aimless Nick Cave anthem that overreaches as a soccer crowd oddly chants the Doors' "Break On Through." But the rest is majestic. "Crazy Love" and "There Is a Ghost," both Cave compositions, begin with sweeping piano vistas that use Faithfull's voice as the sunlight breaking over the white-capped mountains. "Last Song," by Albarn, revels in a simple acoustic setting. And Jon Brion adds a music box symphony to give this ancient china doll the perfect send-off. – Rob O'Connor

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