Mother Fist And Her Five Daughters
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Following up both Stories and his fine covers EP A Woman's Story, Almond took a turn for the more challenging on Mother Fist, to be rewarded with the loss of his contract and a search for a new label. Quite why that should have happened is all the more surprising when upon listening, it becomes clear that Mother Fist was and still is the best Almond album of original material to date. With Hedges once again producing and the Willing Sinners still producing instrumental magic — the great work of Hogan on keyboards, McCarrick on cello and accordion, and McGee on bass and orchestrations simply can't be overstated here — Almond created a generally sparer and more theatrical album that embraces classic European cabaret to wonderful effect, more so than any American or English "rock" album since Bowie's Aladdin Sane or Lou Reed's Berlin. The wonderful, cheeky swing of the opening title track — an unashamed, Truman Capote-inspired ode to masturbation — moves to the pulsing, piano-and-bass driven lover's lament "There Is a Bed," followed by the supremely drugged out and sleazy "Saint Judy" (as in Garland), each track showcasing Almond with a different but equally accomplished vocal approach. Mother Fist keeps going from strength to strength as the album progresses, almost a series of short stories come to life exploring hustlers, burnt-out boxers, romantic dreams, and desires; its centerpiece, the wonderful "Mr. Sad," shifts perfectly from a solo vocal with electric guitar to a full orchestral blast. All this and two great should-have-been hit singles, "Melancholy Rose" and the pulsing "Ruby Red," as well. An all-around triumph.
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