This Irish siren has Southern American blood running through her veins. On her third full-length, Mayhem, Imelda May’s blues and rockabilly belt-outs positively burst with confidence. Not restricted to these styles, May steps into torch-singer ballads, big-band swings, and farm-girl country vibes just as smoothly and self-assuredly. A throwback in its entirety, Mayhem’s resolute old-school style is its charm. The only touches of modernity are in the crisp production of the superior musicians and May’s ballsy tones. She purrs and growls on the slowed down rockabilly of “All For You,” alternately teasing and taunting. Her vocals stretch out moodily over the brushed drums of the bluesy “Too Sad To Cry”. At times, May traverses country territory, where she is at home amongst cowboy-bar jangles, such as the square dance-ready “Eternity”. On “Proud and Humble”, she classes up the hay-strewn barroom floors with infusions of horns. May can do it all — even strut over Soft Cell, turning “Tainted Love” into a down home sing-along.
Buy this at iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for Mayhem’s title track.