Naïve - 2004 - 40 minutes

Marianne Faithfull has always been a seductive interpreter of other people's songs, even during her sweet-voiced 'As Tears Go By', 1960s days. Since her voice broke - aided by copious amounts of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, and heralded in the classic 1979 album 'Broken English' - Faithfull's raspy croak, for her fans, has only added more emotive power to the songs that she chooses and writes.

On 'Before the Poison', Faithful is one corner of a dark, gothic triangle that also includes PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, with their respective bands. Although there is no song where all three meet, and a couple of songs with other collaborators (Damon Albarn, John Brion), Harvey and Cave have their dark fingerprints all over this release.

The five tracks that Polly Jean contributes are classic Harvey, almost too much so, but Marianne refuses to be overwhelmed and there are moments (especially in 'No Child of Mine') when their combined voices soar gloriously.

Of Cave's additions, 'Crazy Love' is a haunting ballad and 'Desperanto' a crazy rollercoaster through the wilder sides of rock. Together with Albarn's elegiac 'Last Song' and 'City of Quartz', Brion's odd little lullaby, this adds up to a release that is far more vital than that of artists half Faithfull's age.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: The Mystery Of Love - My Friends Have - Crazy Love - Last Song - No Child Of Mine - Before The Poison - There Is A Ghost - In The Factory - Desperanto - City Of Quartz