London quintet, ‘Ma Polaine’s Great Decline’ return with their enchanting second EP, ‘Suffer It Well’. At the core of the band is lead singer Beth Packer, who’s silky and sultry voice is reminiscent of the late, great Billie Holliday. By adding tenor saxes, double basses, harmonicas, pianos and accordions, the album has all the feel of cross continental musical musings that genre hop through delta blues, soft country style ballads and periodic jazz. The rest of the band that make up this sound are Clinton Hough (guitars, percussion), Jon Gillies (Tenor Sax, cornet, piano), Chris Clavo (double bass), and Nick Rye (percussion).

The lyrics are a blend of bitter sweet love songs, sinister tales of revenge and odes to happenings within music of the past. The first half of the album conjures images of periodic jaunts through the cobbled back streets of Paris, or a wistful ride down the River Seine taking in all of Paris’ cultural delights, especially in the track, ‘Your Perfect World’ which carries a feeling of a sullen dream within a romantic sentiment.

Opening with ‘Suffer it Well’, the song bears a simple foot tapping funky bass line letting the sax free to roam to give a unique melodious blend that can make you uncontrollably move to the beat as you walk down the street. This is a tribute song to the suffering endured for the art by the early Jazz greats. ‘Blame it on Me’ has quite a sinister layer to this back to front love song, which is highlighted by the accordion and sax. ‘Love me or Leave Me’ is a cover of a 1929 hit. The opening is an ode to the original with its slow and tepid vibe, but the pace picks up with the accordion, bass, guitar and piano providing the chords and rhythm to whisk it into a more animated version. ‘Gasoline Can’ is lively and very much inspired by Howlin Wolf’s style of delta blues. The use of the harmonica adds that deep southern rich country vibe. ‘The Poison Sits’ is a bonus track which is slow, quirky and sinister. It’s a tale of revenge in a bitter sweet precarious and volatile romance that keeps the listener on tentative hooks and a feeling of trepidation as the dark lyrics revolve around the temptation to use the poison in a fit of spiteful revenge.