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Transmission Impossible * Billy MacKenzie * One Little Indian

Before his 1997 suicide, out Scottish singer Billy MacKenzie cut the startling 1982 new-wave classic Sulk (with his band Associates), cowrote Shirley Bassey's "The Rhythm Divine," and filled U.K. gossip columns with his erratic antics. This posthumous collection of unreleased recordings eschews his trademark electronic textures, favoring quieter, acoustic arrangements instead. In such elegant surroundings, MacKenzie reins in the histrionics that could make him wail like the feral child of David Bowie and Maria Callas, instead luxuriating in 13 selections' nuances, elongating songs like a seasoned jazz pro. His ethereal "Wild Is the Wind" makes Nina Simone sound leaden in comparison, but he shines brightest on the originals: The Weill-goes-glam-rock of "Satellite Life"; the mesmerizing seven-minute odyssey "At the Edge of the World. Essential for fans of this idiosyncratic talent and a highly palatable introduction for curious neophytes.
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Title Annotation:Transmission Impossible
Author:Reighley, Kurt B.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 25, 2006
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