Sally Timms, a member of the world's greatest English-singing rock 'n' roll band (the Mekons), has several solo albums to her credit (someone please reissue her first, Somebody's Rocking My Dreamboat), but In the World of Him is a significant departure. While previously Timms has strongly leaned toward country music, Him finds her sneaking into the gloomy terrains of Leonard Cohen and Nico. Less an album than a song cycle or suite, World of Him comprises songs composed by men concerning disconnection, loss, and conflict, sung from their perspective in a setting of cool, literate, fractured elegance.
Timms' imperturbable alto -- incredibly expressive without a hint of histrionics or aloofness -- glides serenely over sustained keyboard textures, dissonant guitars, disembodied beats, and distant percussion, sounding like an omniscient Greek chorus observing and recording the horrors of human drama across eternity. Here, sex and war are analogous (Latex icons line the shelves/Like toy soldiers in a sex army, from Johnny Dowd's "139 Hernalser Gürtel"), and people are afraid of expressing love (It's not that I don't want to marry you/Because marrying would mean that I'd have to chain you not choose you, from Kevin Coyne's "I'm Just a Man"). Timms sings those lines with agonizing yet dignified vulnerability -- In the World of Him is a short but harrowing and absorbing journey into Sally's very own Heart of Darkness, her Apocalypse Now 'n' Then.
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