Martha Wainwright’s Come Home to Mama, released in 2012 on SOCAN/ASCAP, is disappointing from such a talented artist. “I Wanna Make an Arrest”, like other tracks such as “I am Sorry”, “Leave Behind” and “Can You Believe” are not lyrically working. Wainwright’s voice does not match the songwriting or the music here. In “All Your Clothes”, the timing and songwriting attempt thoughtful musical precision. But still, the lyrics won’t cooperate musically. “Prosepina” reveals a classical instrumentation that doesn’t match the narrative either. Part of the problem is that the refrains and one line sentence loops common to the songwriting on this project, fall short of the deep and moody aural affects that support it. Such repetitious song writing, if it can be effective at all, needs to move into ironic dissonance. But, Come Home to Mama is lyrically stiff on top of instrumental complexity. The lyrics need to be pulled way back.
What does work are the opening beats and rhythms awash in a mix of sonic, ambient environments. Most hooks are engaging and often intense. On the spare “Everything Wrong” this is especially true. This is an instrumental recording; the music communicates past the word while the lyrics want to communicate something else entirely different from the music. This is a compliment in one respect. What they have created is a profound sense of place. The studio space in Sean Lennon’s home in New York City, as well as the artistic talent on this collaboration (Yuka C. Honda, Nels Cline, Sean Lennon, Jim White, Brad Albetta and Thomas Bartlett) echo powerfully throughout. And, I am not giving up on Wainwright. In fact, I am waiting for her next release and I’ll be the first one out to see her live.