Karen Finley

  • Karen Finley
  • The Truth Is Hard to Swallow (Pow Wow) 1988 

Controversial New York performance artist Finley comes on like a nutty pornographic Mark E. Smith on one side of her album, which puts music of widely varying sorts (raga-rock, semi-industrial funk, hip-hop, African chorale, etc.) under her obsessive sexual rants. (“The Constant State of Desire,” a live 1987 recording — before a mildly appreciative audience — of a solo piece, completes the album.) Finley’s work is strong stuff of arguable artistic merit, but she’s not that far removed from other modern verbal extremists, and there’s nothing wrong with her backing tracks.

[Ira Robbins]