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The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has undone the shackles of her punk-rock style, instead turning her hand to a more melodic and nostalgic narrative. The lady has just released a solo album which is anchored in a jazz-psychedelia sound with sprinkles of electronica. Valve Bone Woe is a curious piece of work containing fourteen covers by a variety of artists from The Beach Boys to Nick Drake, The Kinks to Rodgers and Hammerstein. With such a drastic step comes the immediate thought how this release could sink or swim, though it does neither and simply floats. At times her snarling sarcasm fits perfectly within the subject matter against a backdrop of a large ensemble orchestra (Valve Bone Woe Ensemble). Other times it is what you would expect, and lacks a bite of passion in the directness Hynde is known for.
The album opens with “How Glad I Am”, a cover of the track made famous by the late Nancy Wilson back in 1964. It is sultry, and inspired, as Hynde hits the highs and lows on a thrilling vocal acrobatic display, pushing confidently out of her comfort zone into new territory.
Things get really fascinating midpoint with the cover of “Wild Is The Wind”. A track made famous by David Bowie in the mid-seventies, re-fashioned with a slight air of Tom Waits styled instrumentation that forms the vibrant backdrop. The voice of Chrissie here is at its most dramatic and intense, delivering with a panache only she can pull off.
How Glad I Am
I’m a Fool to Want You
I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)
Meditation on a Pair of Wire Cutters
Once I Loved
Wild Is the Wind
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Absent Minded Me
Hello, Young Lovers
Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?
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