From Pussy to penises, Sally Timms really covers all her bases. The English-born, Chicago-based performer has played the roles of musician, author, actor, and activist since joining the legendary Mekons in 1986. Pussy, the King of the Pirates was the Kathy Acker-inked lesbian opera that Timms starred in nine years ago; her latest exercise in gender-blurring is In the World of Him. Penned by an all-male stable of songwriters including Ryan Adams, Mark Eitzel, and the Mekons' Jon Langford, this disc channels the intimate and often unflattering confessions of men through Timms' squeaky, cerebral vocals. The result is appropriately ambiguous. Disembodied guitars and skeletal melodies float in and around her voice, though the lyrical sentiments -- war is homoerotic, men aren't in touch with their feelings, etc. -- verge more on cliché than mystery. As an album of eerie, throat-constricting songcraft, World works beautifully; as an art-rock treatise on sexual politics and masculine identity, it falls a little limp. -- Jason Heller
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