Album: Rufus Wainwright

Want Two, GEFFEN
Click to follow

Listening to Want Two in its entirety is rather like gorging on an entire box of Belgian chocolates: a lot of care and attention has obviously gone into making everything so delicious and creamy-smooth, but after four or five tracks, it becomes too sickly, what with Wainwright's louche cabaret delivery and the baroque arrangements within which it's set. These range from the rootsy accordion, banjo and recorder with which his mom and aunt, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, accompany him on "Hometown Waltz", to the Van Dyke Parks-style blend of languid jazz lope and chamber-music accoutrements that carries "Crumb by Crumb"; but most involve some grand orchestral flourish. Wainwright's songs typically cast a cold, sometimes outrageous, eye over affairs of the heart, whether he's denying a potential lover's ardour in "Waiting for a Dream" because "you've never done anything to harm me", recounting the long-lasting impression made by "The Art Teacher" on a young pupil, or welcoming the "Gay Messiah" who's b

Listening to Want Two in its entirety is rather like gorging on an entire box of Belgian chocolates: a lot of care and attention has obviously gone into making everything so delicious and creamy-smooth, but after four or five tracks, it becomes too sickly, what with Wainwright's louche cabaret delivery and the baroque arrangements within which it's set. These range from the rootsy accordion, banjo and recorder with which his mom and aunt, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, accompany him on "Hometown Waltz", to the Van Dyke Parks-style blend of languid jazz lope and chamber-music accoutrements that carries "Crumb by Crumb"; but most involve some grand orchestral flourish. Wainwright's songs typically cast a cold, sometimes outrageous, eye over affairs of the heart, whether he's denying a potential lover's ardour in "Waiting for a Dream" because "you've never done anything to harm me", recounting the long-lasting impression made by "The Art Teacher" on a young pupil, or welcoming the "Gay Messiah" who's been "reborn from Seventies porn/ wearing tubesocks with style, and such an innocent smile". But the lush arrangements can work against them, as with "Memphis Skyline", Wainwright's elegy for his friend Jeff Buckley, where the orchestration is more melodramatic than melancholic.

Comments