Saturday 24 February 2018

Music: Rufus Wainwright * * *

All Days Are Nights : Songs for Lulu (Polydor)

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Rufus is back and this time it's very personal. His sixth studio album is the first since the death of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, in January. Wainwright likens the Lulu of the title to Shakespeare's Dark Lady and "the dark, brooding woman that lies within all of us".

All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu is a stripped-down affair, a solo project in every sense of the word as the sole instruments are Rufus' voice and piano. This new found minimalism fits him well. His remarkable talents are undeniable on this outing.

Opening with the lead single, Who Are You New York?, it's a moving, touching paean to the Big Apple, full of rolling lines and references to Grand Central, Madison Square Gardens and the Empire State.

Even better is The Dream -- a gorgeous track boasting an exquisite piano technique about the sense of loss upon waking. The closing track Zebulon is reportedly the late Kate McGarrigle's favourite piece, who felt it was one of the more profound pieces he's ever written. She's not wrong, and Rufus cements his place in the remarkable pantheon of multi-talented luminaries in the Wainwright dynasty.

Burn it: Who Are You New York?; Martha; The Dream; Zebulon

Irish Independent

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