Rockabilly chantress returns with forth album, its business as usual
Imelda May returns this week with her fourth album. Her first in four years. That is a long time for someone to be away. Luckily Tribal is everything that we’ve come to expect from an Imelda May album. There are subtle differences this time though. Not all of the songs are the fast paced tracks that have populated her previous albums, there are more meditative songs. This is probably because May and her guitarist husband have had a baby. This new tenderness isn’t out of pace. On her previous album there was the beautiful Kentish Town Waltz (my first dance with my wife at my wedding), but these songs feel more touching than that.
This is the album of someone who is in control of their career. It rocks when it needs to and sways when that it needed too. The only problem is that we’ve heard it all before on her previous three albums. When she broke out on to the music scene in 2003-2007 she was like a breath of fresh air. She went against the grain of what was happening. Her retro sound, social commentary lyrics worked well and breathed new life into an old sound. In 2014 though I’m feeling that it’s not as new, fresh as interesting as Love Tattoo or Mayhem. In no way am I saying that this is a bad album, far from it, my only complaint is that it’s far too predictable. I fully understand that May’s stitch is that she’s the embodiment of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s golden age. Big hair, leather jackets and attitude and if she started throwing in stuff that didn’t sit with this it wouldn’t work. However after four albums I think that the formula is starting to get a bit thin.