Wax up your finest wing tips with a generous glaze of polish, run a comb and push that pompadour sky high, give your most trustworthy pair of denims a crisp cuff at the ankle. It's a look you'll be itching to show the world the moment you tear into the distinctively American brew of soul, blues, R&B and rockabilly that pedals through Imelda May's debut disc, Love Tattoo (Verve Forcast). And no, there's nothing wrong with the fact that it took one of the Emerald Isle's most exciting young vocalist to encourage it.
May is a dashing young charmer on recordexpect to be crying "Foul!" when she rattles off heart tragic lines like "You hurt me like never before/Dragged my heart from heaven to the floor" ("Feel Me"). But it's the classic, roots leaning makeup that ultimately ignites an inferno in any heart the moment it synchs up with its' jolted beat. Appropriately titled, Love Tattoo jumps and jives with enough blazing trap set rhythms, finger licking hollow body work, slapping walkabouts the stand up bass, and, of course May's impressive, kerosene vocals to leave a permanent mark on any listener. Tracks like "Johnny Gotta Boom Boom", "Wild About My Lovin'", and "Big Bad Handsome Man" transport listeners to whiskey soaked speakeasies, bare all burlesque shows, and South Side blues revues with their retro grade electricity.
If it's a luscious satin lounge that's more fancy, May's all too happy to oblige. "Knock 123" and "Meet You at the Moon" are warm and woozy; the swish of the brushes on the snare and sultry ivory tickling place the listener piano side, absolutely mesmerized, stirring a cocktail without ever really going for a swig. It's a trance, it's an enchantment, it's to die for, and that's the truth. Won't you sign your life away? I guarantee you won't soon regret it. - David Pitz