This week's RTÉ Radio 1 Album of the Week is Life. Love. Flesh. Blood. by Imelda May.

What we say: Reinvention Of The Year Alert! Farewell, happy-go-lucky Rockabilly Queen of The Liberties, hello sultry Soul Survivor. of The Liberties - Imelda May gets up-close and personal on her most nakedly confessional record to date, taking a sonic leap forward en route with legendary producer T-Bone Burnett. She's described the making of the record as  "therapy, like keeping a diary." Offering an eclectic showcase for her formidable voice, it's a brave and bold move - one that pays off in spades. 

What she says: "I went through a big break up of a long marriage. I became a mother not long before that, and then I fell in love again, I got my heart broken again. So, I had love, I’ve had lust, desire, guilt, regret and hope. It’s got that title because in a way, I was putting my flesh and blood into each song."

What the critics are saying:

With her highlighted cowlick now collapsed into a pair of moody bangs, the cover shot of Imelda May’s new record signals "new direction" in monochrome semaphore. And her music has similarly changed – the rockabilly romps have been replaced by ruminative country soul ballads, channelling Candi Staton and Nancy Sinatra, and produced by T Bone Burnett... Still, there are earworms aplenty, whether they’re barnstorming singalongs or drowsy coos. (The Guardian)

Taking inspiration in part from the 1960s Britpop girls (Lulu, Dusty, Petula, Cilla, Sandie), as well as absorbing a wide palette of American roots influences, the album is May’s most varied collection of tunes to date. (Hot Press)

That she should write a batch of songs about her marriage break-up – and its associated emotional fallout – with such candid realism is the mark of someone who’d rather get their point across than to flag how good they are at catching trends... On the basis of the best of what’s here, even more good things will come to those who wait. (Irish Times)

Listen to Life. Love. Flesh. Blood. in full below, via Spotify: 

 -And find out more about RTÉ Radio 1's weekly playlist here.