Sex O’Clock (Mute)
by Lex Marburger
Anita Lane was one of the original Bad Seeds (that is, of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), co-wrote some of their more troubling songs (“From Her to Eternity,” “Stranger Than Kindness”), and has offered her Marilyn Monroe-post mortem vocals to Einstürzende Neubauten and Mick Harvey (OK, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that they were also Bad Seeds). So she’s got the cred. And Mick Harvey produced Sex O’Clock, her latest album. Even with all that, she still sounds like a small girl in a big studio. Her vocals sound oversexed and under-experienced.
But that’s gotta be complete bullshit, I mean, just look at her past. Re-read those first couple of sentences, and try to picture her as naive. Think of Brigite Bardot mixed with Casey Kasem’s wife. I dunno about you, but for me, that just ain’t happening. The onion begins to be peeled, and if you get away from lyrics like “call me up on the erogenous zone/on the Kundalini telephone,” and focus on tracks like “I Hate Myself,” you start to hear the ironic hate and pain from discarded lovers laced throughout Sex O’Clock. Back that up with Harvey’s use of old Bad Seeds loops and unique studio sound – envision PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love with a ’70s string quartet – and you have lounge-cum-boudoir-music, a surface eroticism that hides a sad, sad soul. If Edith Piaf had fronted Abba, you might get something like Anita Lane.