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The Coral Sea

 
The Coral Sea
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Issue Info

Printed in IssueOct/Nov 08
Review AuthorMichael Levine
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Patti Smith has brought to life her 1996 book of poetry, The Coral Sea, on this eponymous, inspired two-disc set.

With the help of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, Patti Smith has brought to life her 1996 book of poetry, The Coral Sea, on this eponymous two-disc set. Smith’s reading, which serves as an homage to her friend, late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, was recorded live at two different London performances in 2005 and 2006. Unlike previous recordings with her band, where Smith alternates between reciting her poetry and singing it, on The Coral Sea she only occasionally bursts into song while doing her spoken-word thing. Never one to “call in a performance,” Smith delivers with a high-spirited energy that appears completely inspired. Shields’ multilayered guitar electronics provide the perfect support system, creating an ocean of sound that allows Smith’s vocals to ride the waves without wiping out. This intense collaboration is a must-have for the record collections of Patti Smith and My Bloody Valentine fans alike.

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