‘No Exit’ by Marianne Faithfull (Album)

19 November, 2016 in Music Reviews

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull: in equal parts fragile and menacing. Photo: Eric Guillemain

This captivating collection of live recordings reveals the dramatic centre at the heart of this singer and songwriter’s lasting appeal

Marianne Faithfull 'No Exit' coverRecorded live during Marianne Faithfull’s 50th Anniversary tour, No Exit is a collection of performances from those 2014 shows. Of the album’s nine tracks, six of them appeared on her Give My Love To London album from the same year, lending it the feel of a companion piece to the original recording. The set is completed by two Rolling Stones numbers, As Tears Go By and the Faithfull co-write Sister Morphine, as well as The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan, originally recorded by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show and a highlight of her 1979 album Broken English.

Faithfull’s spoken singing style, in equal parts fragile and menacing, is even more pronounced than ever and used to great effect. It is snarling and dramatic on Mother Wolf, as she spits the word out. Sister Morphine bleeds into the Nick Cave-penned Late Victorian Holocaust as a positively gothic feel descends upon proceedings. Her band, including Ed Harcourt on piano, provide ample support throughout and manage to match their leader’s powerful performance.

The Shel Silverstein track The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan brings the album to a close. Served up as a slice of folk-rock it skips along, at odds with the tale of a disillusioned suburban housewife contained within the lyrics. It’s a raucous end that lifts the fog and delights the crowd. Though the set could be more comprehensive, No Exit highlights once again how strong a return Give My Love To London was, and how commanding a presence Marianne Faithfull continues to be.

Verdict: A menacing treat

Duncan Haskell