Martha Wainwright

On her self-titled, full-length debut, Martha Wainwright succeeds where so many baby-voiced female singers have failed.

On her self-titled, full-length debut, Martha Wainwright succeeds where so many baby-voiced female singers have failed. Though accenting the vulnerability her vocals naturally possess, she manages world-weary honesty and summoned strength rather than contrived sentimentality. Across these 13 songs, she proves she is a vibrant and creative member of a formidable musical family that includes brother Rufus (who duets with her on "The Maker"), mother Kate McGarrigle and father Loudon III. While Louden's drubbing on "B.M.F.A." (short for "bloody motherfucking asshole"—ouch!) will likely draw the most initial reaction for its explosive spiritual release, the rest of Martha's Jon Brion-inflected melodic folk is equally ripe with wry emotion that simmers ("These Flowers," "Who Was I Kidding?") and occasionally boils over ("Ball and Chain," "Factory").—BAJ