Tricky – [Album]

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Sometimes the only thing a stagnated artist needs to do in order to be reborn is take a walk through the stacks at his local record store and keep his ears open, searching for new inspiration pressed into old vinyl. It might be a beat that gets the ball rolling, or a lick or a mood or a melody and it might even be found on a record he's heard one hundred times before but simply never noticed before but, when it hits, there it will be – brimming with inspiration. It certainly worked for Tricky; after his last two albums fell flat, the producer presumably went to ground and walked through a record store when it came time to start writing Mixed Race.

On his new album, Tricky breathes new life into a series of old chestnuts and spins gold (rather than drawing mockery) with the results. Listeners will be able to notice the difference in the producer's approach from the moment “Every Day” opens Mixed Race; far less trippy and passive and far more active and spry than he's been at least since the release of Blowback at the beginning of the decade, “Every Day” seems to almost bounce along on a cool guitar riff inspired by David Essex' “Rock On” and set against a new rhythm and given its' sultry swing by a couple of truly sexy female vocalists. The sudden movement in a song done by a producer who has built a career on sounding subdued or prattling in a very stream of consciousness sort of way is both jarring and exciting, but what will make listeners ecstatic is the fact that “Every Day” doesn't exhaust Tricky's muse. As he runs through songs like “Murder Weapon” (which borrows the theme from Peter Gunn), “Early Bird” (which sounds like the most delicious tease ever, backed with a sample by either Charlie Parker or Miles Davis) and “Hakim” (which borrows from East Indian folk), “Come To Me” (which sounds like it was lifted in part from The Blasters), Tricky seems to pull out new trick after new trick from his new bag and, while there are lulls in Mixed Race's run-time (“Ghetto Stars” and “Time To Dance” both backslide into the yawn-inducing static patterns on which Vulnerable was also focused), the moments of excitement and interest both out-weight and over-shadow the bores, and eight out of ten isn't bad no matter how you slice it.

As “Bristol To London” launches out of the gate on almost tribal drumming and falls headlong into a pool of ominous horns to close the album, not a soul within earshot won't be interested what Tricky will have up his sleeve next. With Mixed Race, the producer has really rejuvenated his sound.



Mixed Race is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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