ALBUM REVIEW: Tracey Thorn “Love And Its Opposite”

Label: Strange Feeling
Release date: 17.05.2010

One of the most under-rated singer-songwriters and lyricists of her generation, Tracey Thorn’s voice and words have always been a plaintive joy to behold and “Love And Its Opposite” is no exception. This is the third solo album by the former Everything But The Girl singer and has been released on Strange Feeling, the label set up by her husband and EBTG partner, Ben Watt.

Her last solo album, 2007’s “Out Of The Woods” was a mostly dancey affair, however for the most part this is a much bleaker collection of songs highlighting even more the incredible subtleties of Thorn’s dreamy, melancholy voice.

One of the standout songs here is labelmates Unbending Trees’ ‘You Are A Lover’ whose quiet desolation fits in perfectly with lyrical subject matter like marriage and divorce (‘Long White Dress’ and ‘Oh The Divorces’), facing life alone (‘Singles Bar’) and the challenges of your children heading into the tunnel of life while you are coming out of the other side (‘Hormones’). ‘Love And Its Opposite’ is an album for grown-ups and is about getting older, what that can mean and how it can feel.

Other highlights include the outstandingly majestic ‘Long White Dress’, the odd and rather spooky cover of Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Come On Home To Me’ and the delightful ‘Oh The Divorces) and lines like ‘I think I’m resigned just to take what I find/If I can’t get what I want/Can you tell how long I’ve been here?/Can you smell the fear?’ from ‘Singles Bar’. The only weakness here is the seemingly forced funk of ‘Why Does The Wind’, which doesn’t seem to hang together as much as other songs on the album.

Other than co-writing and performing on two on the 90s’ biggest hits, Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ and EBTG’s ‘Missing’, Thorn is also known for her first band the Marine Girls, whose noted fans included Kurt Cobain as Nirvana were reportedly rehearsing ‘In Love’ before his death.

More reminiscent of Everything But The Girl before their dancier EBTG reincarnation in the late 90s, ‘Love And Its Opposite’ is a gentle album full of sadness and real-life observations as life moves on and other priorities take over. And yet among the every day frustrations and realities of life, there is always that flicker of hope and this album will give you that with a beautiful elegance and of course, a melancholy twist.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Alex Borg


1 Comment

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