Tricky is back with a brand new fifteen track album and the admission by the artist that he felt “lost for ages", because he was “trying to prove something to people, and trying to please others.” He openly admits that his last two albums were not his best work and this new album represents a return to form after finding himself again. In that respect it draws on his hugely influential early '90s work which saw him produce the classic Maxinquaye.
'Somebody’s Sins' is the first track and it sets a distinct Tricky flavour of moody and sombre atmospherics. Third track 'Valentine' deals with a modern day tale of inner city life. Using haunting loops of Chet Baker's version of 'My Funny Valentine', Tricky's spoken rap tells the modern version of a love gone bad.
'Bonnie & Clyde' has a more up tempo almost lazy house feel to it, in comparison with the rest of the album. The parallels with Tricky’s earlier work are very evident and his smokey vocals compete with a variety of female vocals that give the album wide ranging style. The tempo slows and we enter the album's lead single 'Parenthesis' with its pounding rock chords mixed with haunting high pitched vocals from guest Peter Silberman from The Antlers, giving the track a grungy almost gothic style.
The constant mixed tempos of this album keep you drawn in as they switch from grudge trip hop to the swirling ballad 'If Only I Knew'. For some the album's overall length and large range of styles incorporated into its structrue could be seen as a weakness but this is in fact one of Tricky’s great strengths. He is able to mix up content, style and genres yet still provide an overall central feeling of sombre, dark moodiness whilst fantastic production ensures the album is always offering something new to the listener.
Tracks like 'It’s Your Life' and 'Tribal Drums' feature more guest female vocals alongside Tricky’s softly spoken words. This continues with the moody and slow moving atmospheric sounds of 'We Don’t Die'. These last three or four tracks are just over three minutes in length and you feel Tricky is now scampering through the album. This obviously creates a dilemma of appearing to be using the middle part of the album as an experiment in sounds and styles. A criticism that could be easily levelled is this is simply the filler part of the album.
The album reaches its peak with the track 'Does It'. With a bass loaded at the front of the track Tricky vies with a female backing vocals to grumble over a great moody track. This is followed by 'I’m Ready' which continues in the same vein. The final part of the album sees Tricky employing a more dance/hip hop style with 'Hey Love' and final track 'Passion Of The Christ' sealing off an excellent return for the Bristol Maestro.