Picture the scene: a smoky music hall somewhere in Europe circa the 1940s; handsome GIs dancing with pretty girls in even prettier dresses. An evening gowned singer is huskily crooning into the microphone.
Ok, so this is all in your imagination; you’re not actually in a 1940s music hall (European or otherwise), and there no GIs, no pretty girls, but you could easily be forgiven for thinking that you’d somehow been transported through time and space on listening to Madeleine Peyroux’s new album ‘Half the Perfect World’. Released on the 30th of October, ‘Half the Perfect World’ is the follow up to her breakthrough platinum selling album ‘Careless Love’.
It’s a twelve track collection of classic-with-a-twist love songs from the musical great and the good (K.D. Lang, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen to name but a few), sung by the beguiling Ms Peyroux, plus four completely original tracks that she’s co-written-proving that she ain’t just a pretty voice. But, don’t be fooled, ‘Half the Perfect World’ isn’t merely a run-of-the-mill, bog-standard, seen-it-all-before compilation of covers, make no mistake about that. Peyroux, a true mistress of musical alchemy, has taken every single track on the album and moulded, shaped and sculpted it into her own unique and agonisingly beautiful style. She’s put her unmistakable inimitable stamp on them and, in doing so, has created a record that is, quite simply, breathtaking.
Madeleine Peyroux is arguably this generation’s most authentic answer to Billie Holiday; her voice shares the other-worldly raw earthy-ness of the late and (very) great jazz legend. Every word, every syllable is dripping with emotion and intensity.
Peyroux glides effortlessly, languidly, almost, through each of the twelve songs on the album; her rich smoky vocals entice and seduce the listener with their ‘come hither’ sultry-ness. One cannot help but be bewitched: ‘Half the Perfect World’ is enigmatic and exquisite. If you weren’t one of the million people who went out and bought ‘Careless Love’, and so up until now have been oblivious to Madeleine Peyroux’s existence, then ‘Half the Perfect World’ is the perfect introduction.
Her soft focus, dreamy voice is the perfect antidote to the impending cold and dark winter nights. As warming as a tumbler of brandy, and as comforting as a well worn jumper, this album is sure to succeed. And if it doesn’t? Well, then, there’s no justice in this less than perfect world.
Sensual, sultry and sublime ‘Half the Perfect World’ is an absolute must for anyone who likes their music grown-up and with a hell of a lot of style. An enchanting delight of an album.
Written for Entertainment Wise