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Tracey Thorn Out Of The Woods Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

The blend of musical styles and lyrical messages is diverse enough to satisfy nearly...

Lewis Dene 2007

Amazingly it’s almost a quarter of a century since the former Marine Girl singer, Tracey Thorn, delivered her acclaimed 1982 mini-album, A Distant Shore. Although in the interim she was far from ideal. Joining with partner Ben Watt, and naming themselves after a boutique claiming to sell 'everything but the girl' for your bedroom needs, the duo rivalled Sade et al in the eighties jazz-pop movement that crossed the Atlantic.

As with her pre-EBTG solo, Thorn returns to her folk roots with a new collection aimed more at the yummy mummy market than the clubbing kids that helped propel Everything But The Girl into the top ten in the nineties.

Produced primarily by Ewan Pearson, the album is a refreshing surprise; anything but the quirky house and minimal techno that has helped establish him as one of the new breed of über-cool clubmen. Metaphorically rich, this is, in the main, a beautifully crafted soft-spoken melodic slice of luscious chill-out electronica. A personal voyage of discovery with numbers like “Hands Up To The Ceiling” and “By Piccadilly Station I Sat Down And Wept”: lyrically identifiable tales.

Fellow collaborators include Tom Gandey (aka Cagedbaby), Charles Webster and Martin Wheeler of Vector Lovers - the latter responsible for “Falling Off A Log” - sounding not unlike a song from the Pet Shop Boys’ lyric book. But the nearest to the classic sound of EBTG, and the album’s true standout, is “It’s All True”, which credits Pearson along with Metro Area’s Darshan and Mood Music’s Sasse Lindblad.

Thorn’s reworking of “Get Around To It” by cult New York future-disco cellist Arthur Russell (featuring The Rapture’s Gabe on sax), shames all other covers, and is on a par with her sublime cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale”, from her debut opus.

The blend of musical styles and lyrical messages is diverse enough to satisfy nearly every listener’s aural taste buds with her unique acoustic-rock rooted melodies, and although this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, repeat plays have made this a mesmerising listen.

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