Faithfull's return with 'Before The Poison' comes with an expectation she has seldom seen before, obviously helped by the inclusion of songs written by PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Damon Albarn. As three of the best songwriters working today Harvey, Cave and Albarn bring a level of credibility to the record that shifts the interest beyond reputation and history towards a more musical level. Thankfully, the songs are as strong as anything they have written before, not least the brilliant Harvey penned 'No Child Of Mine' and Cave's 'Crazy Love'.
From her beginnings as a pop chanteuse in 1964, through a little-heard set of country rock, on to the edgy bearing of her second commercial breakthrough with Broken English
in 1979, and then into the world of Kurt Weill and elsewhere, Marianne Faithfull appears to have taken wildly varied twists and turns. In fact, her ongoing musical projects move with one another with breathtaking artistry. Before The Poison
is yet another peak, as she collaborates with PJ Harvey
, Nick Cave
, and, Jon Brion
. From the ethereal balladry of "There is a Ghost" (with Cave and the Bad Seeds), to the meaty guitar punches of Harvey's "My Friends Have," this album is a diverse set that's all tied together by the smoky resonance and phrasing of Faithfull's unmistakable voice. --David Greenberger