On her debut solo album, Meg Lee Chin, frontwoman for the anarchic industrial band Pigface, demonstrates just how fierce her intelligence can be. Produced by Martin Atkins, the album offers a generous sampling of Chin’s considerable range, from moans and screams to darkly articulate commentaries, raw despair to rage. But she’s a thoughtful, poetic observer of human failings and strengths, the wild ride of living and partying in the Big City. She recorded and engineered the album alone in her London apartment, with mixing and general production-smoothing in the studio by Atkins and Lee Fraser. She’s got an astounding voice, simultaneously wild and precise, lush and screechy. Word is that Chin was asked to be the singer for Garbage (before Shirley Manson), but she turned them down, preferring to maintain her independence as writer and musician (Manson’s got the fame and bucks, but Chin has definitely got the edge on edginess).
On Piece and Love, Chin displays the artistry that makes her such an underground sensation. On “nutopia,’’ the single previously released on Pigface’s A New High in Low, she describes “the best minds of my generation,” echoing Allen Ginsberg, “running on empty, superglued to the TV, dreaming of prosperity, talking incessantly.” On the opening track, “thing,” she introduces a “really boring night in Manchester,” then throws herself into the pulse of the night: “Helter skelter! Where’s your shelter!?” On the more philosophically inclined “sweat,” her voice initially holds back (in that walkie-talkie-sounding distancing-effect, then bursts to the foreground with an impressive rap-speed, almost crowded out by the fuzz and deep bass all around it. And “swallowing you” begins with an eerily shattered cacophony, easing into her vocals with guitar, keyboards, and sampled newscast, as she sings, “is it real, or is it just an illusion?” It’s a familiar question, but Chin’s forceful, all-stops-out performance gets your attention.
// Notes from the Road
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