Kitty Brazelton

Love Not Love Lust Not Lust

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AllMusic Review by

On one hand, vocalist/lyricist Kitty Brazelton musically brings to the table a rock sensibility with orchestral jazz-like urban landscape underpinnings à la Henry Cow. It's a constructivist's approach, building layers of all-encompassing melodic and harmonic chaos within certain dynamic and orgasmic rhythmic structures. On the other hand, her vocal quality, a kind of cross between a belting Janis Joplin and a bewitching Dagmar Krause (of Cow) is the vehicle for expressing her highly personalized feelings about love and existence on this mortal plane. It commands attention, and is as uncategorizable as any "fusion" you will ever hear. Brazelton is a dramatist, possessing a wild-eyed sense of irony and reality combined with a certain angst and sensual repose. She's certainly a hard-edged singer in relation to her role as companion/friend/lover. Saxophonist Phillip Johnston consistently contributes to the more jazzy fills, electric guitarist Hui Cox adds a rockish hue, while heard throughout are cellist Matt Turner, harpist Elizabeth Panzer, trombonist Chris Washburne, and French Horn player Lydia Van Dreel. The tour de force cut is the 20-minute finale, a seven-part self-portrait suite "From Her Story," an incredible triptych through various musical and life experiences that simply has to be heard. Most of the other pieces accent advice on what to do with relationships and how to approach them. There's the stark honesty of "Sex Wind Dream," a need for belonging is emphasized during "Soul Kiss," including borrowed lines from the blues classic "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," and there's actually a song where Brazelton herself admits unconditional love for someone on "Around You." There are other similar themes, but "Waitin' for Ya' Baby" sports a noticeable call-and-response between voice and guitar, "You're in Love," is the heaviest guitar-centered rocker, while the opener, "Beauty Wild & Curious" elicits the first of many "wows!" during this totally engaging recording. Brazelton might seem koala-bear unapproachable, but she's not witch-like scary. She and her music are so unique and singular-minded that it would appear that way. If you're into the Henry Cow/Hatfield & the North/Steve Lacy-Irene Aebi/Diamanda Galas school of noir art music to give this one a sincere shot. -- Michael G. Nastos

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