Life. Love. Flesh. Blood is the fifth studio album from Irish singer Imelda May. Lyrically, the album is influenced by her recent divorce, so it’s a poignant and deeply personal release. May incorporates elements of soft rock, blues and jazz into eleven tracks that chart and lament the heartbreak, confusion and delights of being human.
The wistful opening track ‘Call Me’ follows May as she yearns for a response from a lost lover: “call me, you’ve taken all the time you need”. It’s a soulful ballad that pulls on your heartstrings and is relatable enough to bring you to tears. ‘Black Tears’ combines the tranquil reverb of melodic riffs with May’s vivacious vocals, they melt together perfectly. May demonstrates the versatility of her vocals throughout, ranging from hushed laments to impassioned highs.
The bluesy guitar vibes of ‘6ixth Sense’ alongside May’s smoky vocals leave a lingering sense of mystery. ‘Should’ve Been You’ exudes frustration; it’s about conflict within relationships and difficulties with communication between two people. ‘Leave Me Lonely’ is the strongest track on the album; May’s gutsy vocal range is admirable and when combined with the power riffs in the chorus the track incredibly catchy.
Contemplative acoustic track ‘The Girl I Used To Be’ sees May reflecting back on past memories. The slow pace and serene riffs allow the focus to be placed completely on May’s vocals. They move from soft vulnerability and regret to optimistic self-confidence: “but my strong heart wouldn’t break”.
The emotive ‘Human’ suggests vulnerability. May’s vocals are drenched with emotion: “I’ve chased away my demons, but I’m human at my best”. She’s struggling through internal conflict but looking forward with confidence. In ‘Levitate’ May’s vocals meander softly alongside intricate melodic riffs; sonically it mirrors the songs title and makes you feel like you’re suspended, floating calmly in the air.
Life. Love. Flesh. Blood is an elegant and mature release that sees May opening up through deeply personal and reflective lyrics. Her honesty is admirable and allows the record to be a cathartic and refreshing listen.