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Rita Lynch – Album Review

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Bristol Archive Records

Apparently this debut album (followed by the posher ‘All Dressed Up’, with the enigmatic ‘Victim’ released I know not when) was recorded live at Bath Moles in 1990 although on some tracks there’s applause and on others I hear nothing at all, so maybe some studio chicanery went on. It’s certainly a confused character at the heart of events for Rita, with her experiences of life’s deep, deep troubles to draw upon has a genuine ache to her voice and a fragile sense of decorum, a brittle realism. Sometimes.

‘Rock & Roll Lifestyle’ has that wiggly guitar so beloved of indie schmoozers of the late 80’s/90’s who think having an organ and wah-wah makes you trendy, when it actually comes over as a constipated Charlatans. ‘Silver & Gold’ sings dramatically about the acid revolution which was dying on its arse creatively, although it gets by on a garbled indie rush. It’s the comparatively hushed ‘Call Me Your Girlfriend’ which shows what the point of a Rita record is, striped down with a crestfallen emotional poignancy. Nothing desperate, other than the protagonist, and the most pertinent comparison for Rita is always Patti Smith, so including
‘Pale Blue Eyes’ carries added interest, and it’s a beautiful thing indeed.

‘Stripped Right Away’ slumps back onto acid’s paradiddle widdle, organ tilted sideways as the doomed ship goes on its circular voyage. ‘Baby I Wonder’ is sore but dreamy acoustic, with ‘Beautiful Eyes’ another beautiful bout of disturbingly naked honesty. ‘I Hold My Breath’ is an art-punk mess, and there’s further violin darting through ‘Find A Love’ as though we’re off on a ceilidh frolic, but it’s sombre indie mawkishness. ‘Cry In The Night’ hastens some brisk drama off the back of that, with starker strings, then ‘Rollercoaster’ gives us simple acoustic frothing. Other than ‘Sixty Days/Hey Joe’ which pretty much does what you’d expect, and ‘So Good To Me’ is an exotic puffy vignette.

It’s an interesting record, because she’s an interesting character, but it isn’t truly satisfying because it’s simply all over the place really. I suspect she works better live, because she can really connect that way, and she is still playing live regularly from what I can gather, so if you get the chance…


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