Returning from a seven-year hiatus, the former Everything But The Girl frontwoman Tracey Thorn shows she’s lost none of her astuteness.
Since hooking up with Massive Attack in the early ‘90s, Tracey Thorn has always recognised the value of good collaborators. Returning from a seven-year hiatus, the former Everything But The Girl frontwoman shows she’s lost none of her astuteness; on Out Of The Woods she’s roped in such uber-buzzy talents as The Rapture, Metro Area and Ewan Pearson.
For the most part, the hired help deliver. Couched in stark Numanoid beats, the opener ‘Here It Comes Again’ spins a silk-smooth tale of love, loss and redemption. On the single ‘It’s All True’, meanwhile, Metro Area’s Sasse and Darshan Jesrani conjure a taut electro-blues shuffle: one is put in mind of the Pet Shop Boys floating in deep space. Elsewhere ‘Get Around To It’ finds the singer giving a tender reading of the old Arthur Russell number, whilst the gloomy glitch excursion ‘Grand Canyon’ updates Portishead for the 23rd century.
Throughout, Thorn is an eerie, ethereal presence, her disembodied warble trickling down the listener’s nape like ice water. Even on relatively upbeat tracks such as the closer ‘Raise The Roof’, she sounds as if she is struggling to keep her head above the waves. A record to cool the blood and quicken the pulse.