Release Date: Jan 25, 2005
Record label: Naive / Anti
Each time Marianne Faithfull issues a recording, fans and pundits hold their breaths waiting for another outing as iconoclastic as Broken English. Before the Poison isn't it for a number of reasons, quality not being one of them. Simply put, Before the Poison is an album that concerns itself with both sides of love, friendship, and redemption, not desolation or desperation.
Roughly split between songs written and produced by Polly Harvey and songs co-written with Nick Cave and performed with Cave and the Bad Seeds, Before the Poison is Faithfull's most stylistically cohesive album for some time. Her hard-earned status as rock'n'roll royalty means comparatively arriviste types are always queuing up to donate songs, which makes records like Kissin' Time patchy, frustrating affairs. Here, PJ Harvey's songs are predictably, garagy and basic, but actually much more convincing as skeletons draped in Faithfull's parchment-dry voice than their cousins on Harvey's own disappointing new album.