Jehnny Beth has broken free from the creative shackles of singing in a post-punk band (Savages) to make her own mark with her first solo album: ‘To Love Is To Live.’ David Bowie’s death hit Beth hard and influenced her decision to strike out on her own. Fans of Peaky Blinders will have already heard ‘I’m The Man’ which is shot through with Nitzer Ebb style beat vandalism. Beth has always had the knack of sounding vulnerable one second and being just about ready to remove your teeth with a claw-hammer the next. Not many singers have that skill apart from Patti Smith.
With Flood involved in the production of ‘To Love Is To Live’ – strap in for something unique. After all: Flood produced Depeche Mode’s ‘Violator’ and ’Songs of Faith and Devotion’ albums, as well as significant releases by Nine Inch Nails and U2. Atticus Ross from NIN is also helping with production and the multi-layered sound of the songs on this album make much of what is released these days sound as flat as a pancake.
‘To Love Is To Live’ is an exhilarating collection of songs that explore power and mortality and as a whole is something far more diverse than what Beth created with Savages. There is a passive aggressive vibe here with angry distorted industrial beats on ‘How Could You’ and the piano led beauty of ‘I Am’ and ‘The French Countryside’ without forgetting the dark and cinematic ‘Human’ which is quite simply stunning.
‘To Love Is To Live’ is a damn fine album from start to finish.
Words: David Nobakht