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Tracey Thorn: Love And Its Opposite (Buzzing Fly)

Tracey Thorn is one chanteuse that I consider essential to pop music. Everything But the Girl has had a curious trajectory over its long history, but her voice remains the constant – and oh, what a voice! Her post-EBTG solo album a couple years back was a slick synth-pop record with some lush sidesteps here and there, produced expertly by Ewan Pearson and laden with hooks and grooves. It’s not surprising, though, that Thorn opted for a different approach to her follow-up, once again working with Pearson. The same attention to detail and lovely songwriting is preset, but they’ve largely traded in the glossy synth-pop sheen of the previous effort for a more acoustic and intimate sound here. There is a clear single (“Why Does The Wind?”) but many of the other tracks are quite stark and scaled back, even when there is a subtle amount of detail at play. It’s definitely a sleeper of an album, not half as immediate as her last album, but striking a quite nice middle ground between the various points of her long-running repertoire.

Watch/listen: “Oh, The Divorces!” (live on Later with Jools Holland)