Cooking Vinyl (label)
03 February 2014 (released)
14 February 2014
After the death of Lou Reed late last year, Suzanne Vega wrote a wonderful tribute to the singer, describing how without his influence and friendship, she would have not had the career she's had. The articulate writing and colourful insight were typical of the New York based singer. It is a shame then that her first album in seven years lacks some of that magic, and is a little underwhelming.
Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles was written before Reed's death but there is such a maudlin feel that you wonder whether his illness head already impacted Vega's thinking. On Silver Bridge she even sings of the "recently departed....into that land uncharted". There are even echoes of Reed's raw 70s sound on I Never Wear White's edgy guitar - as Vega declares "My colour is black.....black is for secrets....the poet of the dark".
Vega says the album is a collection of ten songs that each tell a story on how the material world, and spiritual world both intersect - and perhaps that spiritual feel takes some warming to. She is at her best on the hand-clap backed Jacob And The Angel with a haunting vocal and sparse production, but the opener Crack In The Wall and Fool's Complaint drift passed with little impression. And there's too much of the latter and not enough of the former.