ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Everyone knows the best way to get over a man is to write a three-part rock opera about your 47-year-old alter ego crash-landing a time machine into 1890s Paris while bitching about his flaws. Right? That’s CMAT’s tactic anyway. Seen through the eyes of that vividly-portrayed alter ego, the Dubliner’s second album is a forensic inquiry into every stage of a failed relationship, from wanting to emigrate (‘California’), to DIY haircuts (‘Vincent Kompany’), to comprehending what a deadbeat your man truly was (most of it).
As on her debut, last year’s If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, hard-won wisdom comes dispensed in waspy couplets, her romantic vision undercut by a sense of the ridiculous. “I’d make you Torso of the Week if I still bought Heat magazine,” she smirks on ‘Whatever’s Inconvenient’. A maximalist, she’s always ready to enter full Meat Loaf mode, her voice ribboning into a power-swoon as she tells you some long, involved, and impossible-sounding story, adding a sly wink towards the hokey melodrama of country music. “You tainted my teens and that’s a shame, I still can’t watch Spirited Away,” she sighs on ‘Rent’, while ‘I… Hate Who I Am When I’m Horny’ sees her slump into remorse, a brittle barfly trying to fight her impulses. You can already picture these songs live: the congregation will show up in their stetsons and diamanté and will require very, very little persuasion to break into a line dance.
While Crazymad, For Me is technically a concept album, CMAT’s inner monologue is what matters most here, the time-travel just a handy vehicle for deep-diving into heartbreak. But after this wallowing, she tells us that we must find a way to move on – that’s the moral of closer ‘Have Fun!’, a rinkydink little number lamenting all the time and money she wasted on her ex. “Silly bitch!” she tuts, “you should have spent it on yourself!” Allowing herself to indulgently grieve the past, letting tracks exceed the five-minute mark until she’s all laughed and cried out, CMAT’s 47-year-old persona isn’t some jilted attic bride brooding that her best days are behind her – instead she frames middle age as a marker of survival and strength. Twenty years from now you’ll still be you, she insists, luxuriating in your box-sets, invoking Britney lyrics, escaping lairy parties to be reunited with that nice bottle of wine you left in the fridge. You don’t need a time machine to figure that out.
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