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Possessing one of the most distinctive voices in rock, Marianne Faithfull is the kind of singer who makes songwriters all but drool over the prospect of working with her. She's proven a remarkable foil for many folks over the years, from Mick Jagger to Billy Corgan to Robert Wilson, and this time around, she joins forces with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, both of whom are totally conversant in the language of bleak beauty that Faithfull speaks so fluently. (Other songs are penned by Blur's Damon Albarn and Aimee Mann collaborator Jon Brion.) Harvey, who handles much of the disc's production, puts her imprint on several of the songs, lacing them with the sort of taut guitar lines and white-knuckle mood shifts that mark her own work -- particularly the tense "My Friends Have." Cave, on the other hand, seems eager to defer to Faithfull, accentuating her bruised delivery with raw, windswept austerity (on "There Is a Ghost") or sheer sonic bedlam (the edge-of-sanity chantey "Desperanto"), with musical muscle provided by most of the Bad Seeds. These two tunes gain added heft from Hal Willner's production, which draws out the singer's torchier tendencies without egging her on to full-on cabaret moments. As is her wont, Faithfull switches gears completely toward the end, throwing open the otherwise hermetically sealed environment for a performance of Jon Brion's "City of Quartz," which wafts through the air like an urbane lullaby. Poisonous? Perhaps, but what a way to go.
Performance CreditsMarianne Faithfull Primary Artist,Vocals,Hand Clapping
PJ Harvey Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Slide Bass
Adrian Utley Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Sampling,Toy Piano
Rob Ellis Percussion,Piano,Drums,Glockenspiel,Hand Clapping,Vibes
Andy Nice Cello
Diana Gutkind Piano
Catherine Browning Violin
Luigi DUrso Handwriting
Technical CreditsNick Cave Composer,Producer,Engineer
Marianne Faithfull Composer
PJ Harvey Composer,Producer
Damon Albarn Composer
Jon Brion Composer
Martyn Casey Engineer
Warren Ellis Engineer
Hal Willner Producer
William Lee Self Liner Notes
Rob Ellis Sound Effects,Producer,String Arrangements
Rik Simpson Engineer
Takeo Komatsuzaki Liner Notes
James Sclavunos Engineer