sun 31/05/2020

CD: Tricky - False Idols | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tricky - False Idols

CD: Tricky - False Idols

Bristol trickster suffers from muse addiction

The Tricky Kid, self-confessed mongrel

Tricky left Massive Attack, the Bristol collective who provided tbe soundtrack to many a shopping therapy expedition, and went on to make one of the greatest albums of the 1990s, Maxinquaye. He was never a purveyor of easy listening or trippy-hoppy background music. He delved much deeper, dredging through a family history of mixed race shenanigans, gangland violence and his own martyrdom as a victim of major respiratory and skin disease.

Tricky left Massive Attack, the Bristol collective who provided tbe soundtrack to many a shopping therapy expedition, and went on to make one of the greatest albums of the 1990s, Maxinquaye. He was never a purveyor of easy listening or trippy-hoppy background music. He delved much deeper, dredging through a family history of mixed race shenanigans, gangland violence and his own martyrdom as a victim of major respiratory and skin disease.

It’s been over 16 years since the first album came out, and Tricky claims he has returned to form with False Idols, after a number of rarely better than average releases. He is right – as there are moments when his trademark DIY approach to production, his instinct for surprising sounds and ability to mix styles in an unexpected way work very well – as on “Valentine”, a moody and sinister stroll through introspection, and “Parenthesis” which moves dramatically from the maximum vulnerability of a male falsetto to the crashing energy of metal-infused guitars.

In “Tribal Drums”, he steals (he’s not called Tricky for nothing) a rolling percussion riff from his former partners Massive Attack and overlays a delicately woven stream of weird sounds, that bring to mind the influence of one of his original mentors, the fierce avant-gardist Mark Stewart.

The whispered raps have slid from signature to near-cliché, as have the obligatory melancholy women’s vocals. It’s as if his mother’s suicide when he was just four hasn’t just haunted Tricky ever since, but held him in a web of addiction to the dark muse. He has a fine ear for good voices, and they speak well for his wounded soul. Exiled from Bristol – a place with too many traumatic memories, but the source of his initial inspiration – a Parisian Tricky feels all too often like he’s going through well-rehearsed motions rather than plumbing the abyss that made his early music so original and thrilling.

He has a fine ear for good voices, and they speak well for his wounded soul

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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