Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo – Phantasmagoria In Blue (Mute)

Former Bad Seed Mick Harvey teams up with Mexican singer/filmmaker Amanda Acevedo duetting on 14 tracks, some old some new, some borrowed and most blue.

We’ve had Mickey & Sylvia, Sonny & Cher, Ian & Sylvia and Nancy and Lee…and in that fine tradition comes Mick and Amanda as they sing “14 tracks sourced from existing duets, songs that previously were not duets, translations from Spanish and a sprinkling of original compositions”.

We start with Creatures Of Rain, a song first recorded by Smokey and his Sister back in 1967 and then by Ian & Sylvia. Like Nancy and Lee, Mick and Amanda’s voices play off each other with just the right amount of sexual tension, beauty and passion. Hearing Mick Harvey sing about his missing unicorn is worth the price of admission alone.

Amanda often slips in to her native Spanish (Indian Sumer/The Blue Unicorn) while Harvey is Harvey…low, gruff and poignant. Sure he reminds us of his old friend Nick Cave at times…is that a bad thing?

In fact, the version of Sibylle Baier’s Trapeze sounds uncannily like Where The Wild Roses Grow.

We get two Tim Buckley tunes…the iconic Song To The Siren and the lesser-known, Phantasmagoria In Two.

For those hankering for Some Velvet Morning, we are treated to Nancy and Lee’s She Won’t (written by Billy Falcon and Duane Eddy)

I think my favourite is the reworking of Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield, turning the 80’s guitar rocker into a sultry, slow synth-soaked ballad.

Of course the duo close out the set with a little Leonard, Cohen’s You Got Me Singing from his Popular Problems will leave you with a smile.

Here’s hoping Mick and Amanda bring their live show to New Zealand, I have a feeling the two of them together on stage would be incendiary.

Until then, there’s plenty of fireworks here.

Marty Duda