Mayhem

Album Review of Mayhem by Imelda May.

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Mayhem

Imelda May

Mayhem by Imelda May

Release Date: Jul 19, 2011
Record label: Decca
Genre(s): Jazz, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Rockabilly Revival

84 Music Critic Score
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Mayhem - Excellent, Based on 3 Critics

Rolling Stone - 100
Based on rating 5/5
100

Irish singer Imelda May hangs out at the same intersection of rockabilly and swing where Brian Setzer parked his Cadillac in the late Nineties. Her third record places her rich, pouty voice inside coils of surf guitar and thumping stand-up bass, offering moments of violence (the title track) and seduction (the slinky striptease "All For You"). Throughout, she exudes the dangerous allure of a 1950s pulp pinup, the kind with racecar red lips and a dagger in her boot.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Imelda May's sophomore album offers more of her jazzy, unabashedly catchy retro pop, so sincere and energetic it gives many 2000s pop stars a run for their money -- though May somehow underexplores the rockabilly vibe, which is her prime gimmick, after all. Not that she abandons it: the first three cuts all sport muscular, bouncy basslines and that rock & roll sleaze that complements her powerful vocals so well. There are also "Sneaky Freak" and the closers, though, admittedly, one's a remix and the other a cover of "Tainted Love," no less: a cheeky pick that gets a great tongue-in-cheek rendition here.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Not content with having two Irish No. 1 albums, having become the darling of UK tastemakers such as Jools Holland and having recently played for Barack Obama, Imelda May remains a woman on a mission. Underneath her immaculate retro stylings dwells a steely determination to prove that blues and rockabilly are not dead styles in need of revival but rather they represent living music as relevant today as in the ‘50s.

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