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CD review: JULIE CHRISTMAS, The Bad Wife

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CD review: JULIE CHRISTMAS, The Bad WifeBy Ben Apatoff

JULIE CHRISTMAS could sing a bus schedule and make it sound compelling. On The Bad Wife, her solo debut, she roars, wails, coos, shrieks and croons with more guts and versatility than any singer this side of CHRIS CORNELL, making every lyric matter in a way that metal records almost never do. Featuring her bandmates from MADE OUT OF BABIES and SPYLCAOPA (including CANDIRIA's JOHN LAMACCHIA,) The Bad Wife is just as vital musically, creating an arresting blend of sludge metal and experimental rock that deserves to be heard by anyone with a pair of ears.

Loss is a big theme here. "You can leave this house for only a minute," she quietly utters at the start of "July 31st," shortly before erupting into a compelling howl that dares the listener to try to miss a second of this movie for your ears. When she warns of her world falling apart on a cover of the standard "If You Go Away," you'll be fearing for your own safety as much as hers.

The Bad Wife says a lot with a little. The relatively few notes of "Bow" and "Headless Hawks" are more indelible than most technical death metal, with Lady Christmas bellowing like BJORK at an audition for the MELVINS. The slow-building, perfectly-titled "Six Pairs of Feet and One Pair of Legs" has a haunting piano progression that could soundtrack a good slasher film if it wouldn't probably distract from the killer. Same goes for the cabaret-style "A Wigmaker's Widow" and the acoustic "Secrets All Men Keep," in which Christmas intones, "The cuts on your cheek say you've been somewhere wrong." The lyrics are just one of the idiosyncrasies about The Bad Wife that makes it one of the year's most exciting albums. "I just destroyed the world I'm living in," she sings near the record's electrifying conclusion. Mine too, Ms. Julie.

Rating: 4 Season's Bleedings out of 5

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