It's been a decade since Toyah Willcox lisped
her way hitwards with the likes of 'It's A Mystery' and 'I Want To Be Free'.
Since then she has carved out a bizarre showbiz career, appearing almost
simultaneously at the National Theatre and on children's ITV, playing Sally
Bowles in a West End production of Cabaret (where the orchestra walked
out, leaving Toyah to sing her way through the entire show acapella), and
becoming a rock wife to Robert Fripp. Meanwhile LPs like 1987's 'Desire'
and 1988's 'Prostitute' have slipped out unnoticed and unchartbound.
Clearly, Toyah Willcox has not been idle and said
lack of idleness is reflected on her new album. Liberally salted with playing
by the lies of Fripp and top pianist Keith Tippett, 'Ophelia's Shadow'
is several galaxies away from the clunking sub-Diamond Dogs pop of 'Thunder
In The Mountains and its crazy-coloured ilk. 'Ghost Light' and 'The Shaman
Says' glide and shimmer in a manner similar to recent work by Kate Bush
or even David Sylvian. Willcox's voice is a more thoughtful instrument
than of yore and - despite a far from operatic range - wraps itself effectively
around the snakey (and even occasionally African) rhythms of her
band's playing and she even feels confident enough to give us a wedge of
Hamlet at one point. What these songs are actually about is something of
a mystery but the're always slinky and interesting. Future outings may