Wendy James - Price Of The Ticket (too much)!
You take a pistol, a stooge and a bad seed, combine them with Patti Smith’s guitarist and a sexy post punk poster girl vocalist of the late 80’s, and create a classic skuzztastic cracker of an album. That’s the headline I so desperately wanted to write, but when I pressed play on ‘The Price of A Ticket’ by Wendy James, it’s an immense feeling of disappointment.
Even the cover looked promising, James bare breasted, looking overtly vogue thin, stretched out over a sofa, the Transvision Vamp starlet looked all set to be screaming “Baby I still don’t care, even at 50 years old”. But instead we get an album which is 90% of a take on the 70’s New York scene, and I’m not talking Ramones, more Velvet Underground, with an attempt at a Lou Reed talkysing style, which just doesn’t cut it.
This girl has proved she can sing and wail and yet it feels like she holds too much back in reserve, most songs remaining pastiche and leaving you frustratingly unsatisfied. The talky vocal sounds at times like someone reading the lyrics for the first time and trying to fit them to a backing track, overall and I’m very sad to say, it’s unlikely to reignite her solo career despite the credibility of the band recording with her.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some shining lights of hope in ‘Bad Intentions and a bit of cruelty’ where it’s a constant punk rhythm and an angsty James singing “You gonna give me what I want?”, but I can’t help but feel we aren’t really getting what we wanted here either.
‘You’re a Dirtbomb Lester’ builds across a thumping riff and beat and is quite unrelenting in it’s attitude, but just when you think the album is finally turning a corner, we get a too soft rockabilly pop tune called ‘Why Oh Why Do You Hurt Me Still’ complete with annoying squeaks and ooh noises.
‘You’re So Great’ and ‘It’s Alright Ma’ are quite superb, but they are both covers and reserved for the last 2 tracks of the album and unfortunately you have to wade through some tiresome glib ramblings and sting after sting of bland, before you get to the honey. The price of the ticket is just too much I’m afraid.