No big surprise that Martha Wainwright — daughter of idiosyncratic singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and sister of avant-pop singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright — is also a singer-songwriter with discriminating tastes. On her second album, she broadens her sonic palette, leaping from FM rock to trip-folk to Euro-cabaret to arty new wave — sometimes within the same song. But Wainwright can also be a tad messy, especially when she lets melodramatic lyrics take over. She follows "Bleeding All Over You" (I Know You're Married but I've Got Feelings Too's captivating opener) with the blunt venting of "You Cheated Me," admitting, "I don't want to point the finger, but I can't help it." Sharp-tongued jabs fill the record, but some of the best cuts don't dwell on romantic betrayal — like the chilling "In the Middle of the Night," which focuses on her mom's bout with cancer. Wainwright's expressive voice — which draws on airy chanteuses like Annie Lennox and Kate Bush, as well as earthier stylists like Marianne Faithfull and Patti Smith — keeps her emotions from raging out of control. Intriguingly, the album's most straightforward songs are covers of Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play" and Eurythmics' "Love Is a Stranger," which reveal what Wainwright might sound like if she settled for convention.
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