C hrissie Hynde has offered up various justifications for her latest record, a collection of jazz-facing covers of classic tracks. Maybe Hynde is so keen to rationalise her decision because rerouting along a gentler, jazzier path could be viewed as a rather hackneyed move for a year-old rock star.
But Valve Bone Woe is neither trite nor tedious. Instead, it sees Hynde drown out cliche and, occasionally, any recognisable tune with her inbuilt insouciant cool and disregard for anything approaching stuffy tradition. Alongside jazz, she calls on dub, psychedelia and faintly disorientating interludes of electronica to enhance the otherworldliness of her alternative I.M.P. - Ill Mannered Playas songbook.
There are offbeat, luxuriously melancholic versions of jazz standards and moody bossa nova numbers including a Kinks song inspired by the genre. Rather, it is the attitude she radiates — one of aspirational nonchalance, lightly worn swagger and subtle subversiveness — that makes Valve Bone Woe so inviting Cool It - The Sparks - Cool It / Woe Woe interesting: less an indicator of impending irrelevance than a reminder of the thrills Hynde is still capable of producing.
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