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by: Zero Sharp

Perhaps the best way to enjoy the newest album by Adrian Thaws, aka Tricky, is to forget the past. The former member of Massive Attack has come a great distance since helping to invent trip-hop and releasing a solo debut of staggering genius in "Maxinquaye". Since then, he started into a long downward spiral by basically committing commercial suicide both musically and socially. For a while, he was still brilliant musically even if his albums weren't very accessible. However, that eventually devolved in something not worth describing. Now, here he is at album seven, and he's apparently decided that finding his future involves reliving many ideas from his back catalog. The most apparent is the his collaboration with Costanza Francavilla and her role in the music; vocally, she is the double of Martina. What makes that all the more disturbing is that much of the old innuendo between Tricky and Martina has just been copied over to Francavilla. If you can get past that, there are a handful of pretty good songs here. "Stay", "Antimatter", and "Car Crash" seem to show promise that Tricky has managed to emerge from the darkness and paranoia that was so brilliant in his early work and so trapping after that. I think evolution might be a good idea in this case. When this album does become dark, paranoid and/or claustrophobic, the emotions generally seem like pale reflections of the trueness that has gone before although there are moments at which it all really does come roaring beautifully back, like "Hollow". Sonically speaking, the album only holds together for about the first third of the tracks before deciding to try to be all things to all listeners. The covers of XTC's "Dear God" and The Cure's "The Love Cats" both work reasonably well, but they both smack of wasted potential. I would recommend the first third of the album to people so they can hear that Tricky might still be able to do. I would recommend the whole album to those who don't remember much of Tricky's musical past and enjoy buying albums that land squarely between ok and good.


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