In the three years since her critically-acclaimed debut, Martha Wainwright has toured and recorded with acts ranging from Neko Case to Snow Patrol. She has performed Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, and appeared on the big screen in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator
. But her greatest achievement is, undoubtedly, the creation of her sophomore record. Entitled I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
, it is a musically and lyrically ambitious effort, from understated ballads to intense rock numbers. Wainwright offers new takes on a couple old classics as well: Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play" and the Eurythmics' "Love Is A Stranger." With I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
Wainwright has created a masterpiece that will further establish her as one of the most exciting and brilliantly creative songwriters of her generation.
Martha is the youngest of the Wainwright clan (with brother Rufus two years her senior), and she's also still the one with the most to prove, even after her eponymous 2005 debut captured hearts aplenty via a delightful bundle of timeless folk ruminations with intriguingly fraught seams--and one infamously foul-mouthed diatribe against her father (folk singer Loudon Wainwright III). It's hard to know whether the family association does her more harm than good, but what is certain is that sophomore album I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
is as complex and emotionally tumultuous as its title and lays to rest any doubts regarding the reach of her artistry. From lavish psychedelic arrangements in "Tower" to "You Cheated Me" and "Hearts Club Band" which gush with the slick country-pop of Fleetwood Mac, to "So Many Friends" and "Bleeding All over You" alternating between Kristen Hersh's husky folk persona on one hand and Kate Bush's gallivanting tonsils on the other, all the way to "Niger River" which quivers and ebbs, fluttering between peaks with eastern trace-like qualities, she sounds both utterly liberated and firmly in control. It's a more challenging experience than the first record, but covers so much more ground and is richer for it. In spite of the title it can surely no longer be a case of always the mistress and never the bride. --James Berry