Martha Wainwright – ‘Come Home To Mama’

Martha Wainwright's latest album is haunted by the ghost of her mum

From its title down, Martha Wainwright’s latest is haunted by the ghost of her mum, Kate McGarrigle. She’s a spectral vision “under the vines” in the echoing, confessional ‘All Your Clothes’, with Wainwright fretting over her belongings. She’s there again in family reminiscences as ‘Four Black Sheep’ shifts from strange electropop to stately piano cascades. And even the elegant legend of ‘Proserpina’ tells the tragedy of a mother and daughter forced apart. This doesn’t mean it’s one long dirge. Cibo Matta’s Yuka Honda produces with imagination, and ‘I Wanna Make An Arrest’ is like some 1980 New York night with Grace Jones and Kid Creole, and the album’s redeeming presence is Wainwright’s son Arcangelo, born just before his grandmother’s death. When Wainwright leaves us hanging at the end of ‘Everything Wrong”s soft chimes with the frank, childlike, “I have been really really sad/Except for having you with your dad,” each sentiment is a choker.

Matthew Horton

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