Reviewed by Julian Wilson
Unwoman is Erica Mulkey, a singer/songwriter that swims in the chilly darkness of Siouxsie Sioux if she had replaced post-punk guitars and danceable synthesizers for cello and piano. Because of the latter instrument, comparisons to Tori Amos are inevitable, but Mulkey is far less commercial and certainly more edgy, combining the timeless beauty of classical music with the ominous atmospherics of Gothic rock. “If only I could be/The baby doll that you imagine,” Mulkey sings on “Compliance,” and that pretty much symbolizes the persona Mulkey is toying with here, that of innocence on the surface but something black lurking underneath.
Mulkey has a lovely voice. The sweeping “Caught Her” offers us layers of her bittersweet crooning; it is rich with emotion and brimming with a sultry, enigmatic quality. On “Power,” her singing is stripped down to its core, the crisp production showcasing its clarity and incandescent beauty. However, this isn’t music that you listen to during the day unless you’re knee-deep in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book. This is not sunshine radio, but a journey into the shadows. It’s one that I am certainly willing to make over and over again.