This is a selection of album reviews, go
here for interviews and
articles. For live reviews check out the concertography.
Links to reviews on the net are indicated by *. You can see
the pictures in the articles bigger by clicking on them!
|Pre Millenium Tension|
|Angels With Dirty Faces|
|Knowle West Boy|
False Idols tries to split the difference, and weirdly enough, it nearly succeeds. Calling it Maxinquaye for the middle-aged seems a bit too glib, but this album really does return to the ethereal, almost fragile intensity that marked his well-loved 1995 debut with the more solemn perspective of a grown man who's felt like he's lost his way. (6.7 of 10)
Though interestingly enough, the sole concept behind False Idols isn't so much to replicate the sound of Maxinquaye, but to re-write its blueprints and introduce a 'modernized' Bristol sound to a new generation. (4 of 5)
I'm Ready, on which that familiar sprechgesang delivery is somehow both metronomic and distended, is exemplary, but the whole record – dosed with menace – sounds hungry. (8 of 10)
Tricky is a hip cat again, and in his world that’s a commodity he can scarcely afford to lose. The great thing here, though, is he did it the old fashioned way: he just put out a great fucking record. (8 of 10)
*The Line Of Best Fit:*
Of course, with any Tricky album, it’s the haunting, beat-driven atmospherics that ultimately make the songs memorable (or not), and throughout this new record the textured dynamics of these songs pulse with a clean, modern inventiveness, while also echoing the moody tones of his best work. (7.5 of 10)
False Idols is vintage Tricky, which means it could slot in at around 1997 – the melodies are spare, the beats spacey, the vibe dark. (3 of 5)
Weirdly, Tricky's presence feels minimal; his vocals take the form of gnarled, gnomic mutterances, and play second fiddle to a rotating bill of guests. (6 of 10)
False Idols is a sterling return to the form of Maxinquaye, full of sinister, infectious grooves of strings and sparse piano lines with his trademark mumble hiding behind the soulful lead vocals of female frontpersons.
*Consequence Of Sound:*
Ten albums in, the singer proves he still has the juice to keep things interesting, even if he ultimately falls short of his own headstrong expectations. (C-)
Occasionally parts of the album get bogged down with spirituality ("Passion of the Christ" and 's "Somebody's Sins") - which isn't surprising, because conceptually, seems to be doing some soul-searching - but the running time is long, and at least three quarters of the album is top-shelf. (3.5 of 5)
*The Gap (in German):*
Tricky macht das, was er einmal am besten konnte: Grenzen überschreiten und das Unerwartete aus dem Hut zaubern. Das Entscheidende ist, dass Tricky eine schöne Balance zwischen seinen (Old School-) Trip Hop-Wurzeln und einer neuen, reduziert-verdichteten Soundlandschaft gefunden hat. (7 of 10)
*Love Is Pop:*
You never know what to expect from song to song, which keeps things very interesting and creates a state of suspense that one doesn’t often feel when listening to albums these days.
His best album since 2008’s underrated Knowle West Boy, and perhaps his best since the untouchable Maxinquaye, False Idols confidently returns to a simpler, yet contemporary version of Tricky’s working formula. (4 of 5)
Melodic pop hooks underpin every track – there is not a single moment of the difficult experimentalism or brag-rap posturing that marred more recent albums. (4 of 5)
*Velocities In Musik (with video of the two reviewers):*
This album has very few fully developed tracks; instead, Tricky takes one musical idea and perfects it by implementing it with impact and then moving on to the next idea. (77 of 100)
It revisits those old dark nightclubs dug from the dirt, those gummy hashish loops and sexy purrs heard on Nearly God and Pre-Millennium Tension. It reminds you that Tricky is one of the coolest motherfuckers given to pop music in the last quarter century.
*Love Is Pop: album of the day:*
This is a wildly imaginative album that will assure you that you were not mistaken when you proclaimed him a genius way back in 1995. I hate to say this, as I really do cherish each and every one of his albums, but this is indeed Tricky’s best release since Pre-Millennium Tension.
*FAZ: album of the week (in German):*
Es ist das anarchisch wilde Zusammenspiel der Stile, Themen und Stimmen, das „Adrian Thaws“ zu einem Album macht, das wie keines seiner Vorgänger klingt und doch einen originären Sound fortführt. Trickys Musik klingt jedenfalls auch nach zwanzig Jahren noch frisch und gegenwärtig.
*The Arts Desk:*
Once again, Tricky has drawn on his wide-ranging roots and produced a work of surprising variety, yet held together by a profound artist’s sensibility. (4 of 5)
(this review is written by none other than Mark Kidel, who filmed the "Naked and Famous" documentary about Tricky!)
From opener Sun Down, you're transported to Tricky's world. It is dark, seductive and filled with songs that are linked via his inventive production and bleak worldview. (4 of 5)
*The Line Of Best Fit:*
Thaws isn’t content to linger on past glories. On his new album, we see the ardent, chronic experimentalist craft remarkably prescient sounds. (8 of 10)
Adrian Thaws is undeniably Tricky with all his trademark feverish whispers and ominous storytelling but it’s also his most cogent and focused album in years. (4 of 5)
There’s not much on Adrian Thaws that distinguishes it from the direction Tricky has been heading over the past 15 years. This is a continuation of a mood he began etching out in song long ago, which he’s apparently either unwilling or unable to get away from, making it both the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to him. (4.8 of 10)
*Musikexpress (in German):*
Der Brite hat seine Mitte gefunden, deswegen heißt die LP auch wie er selbst: Adrian Thaws. Und dieser Mr. Thaws ist seit je gespalten, was man endlich auch wieder an seiner Musik hört.
(4 of 5)
*Süddeutsche (in German):*
Tricky hat die monotone Ruhelosigkeit der vergangenen Jahre wieder in Produktivität verwandelt... Wäre das Album ein Teil eines Hauses, es wäre am ehesten der alte Heizungskeller.
It’s less nightclub, more drunken iPod selection, typical of late-period Tricky: brilliant, frustrating and fatally inconsistent. (6 of 10)
*In Your Speakers:*
Surprisingly, even though he makes genre changes like he’s changing his socks, the work still feels cohesive, again a testament to the unique sound Tricky’s cultivated. (79 of 100)
If False Idols was the return, Adrian Thaws is the great diversification, and if being disappointed with your universally accepted classic inspires greatness like this, then Maxinquaye be damned (but only in Tricky's presence). (4 of 5)
*Under The Radar:*
... the sort-of-self-titled Adrian Thaws (Tricky's legal name) is a positive evolutionary step for an artist whose sound otherwise defies easy categorization. (6 of 10)
In fact, at times Tricky’s barely there at all, content to orchestrate Adrian Thaws’ stark beats, the best of which recall his mid-90s peak. (3 of 5)
The first half of the record clashes significantly with the latter half, which is… eclectic. (6 of 10)
*Get To The Front:*
... a standard producer will have a guitar part that plays for three minutes; Tricky takes the four most stunning seconds of that part and uses only those four seconds. His ear for rhythm and structure, mood and melody is peerless...
He sounds like Billie Holiday. He sounds like Tom Waits. He sounds like Robert Smith and Gil Scott Heron. But actually he is like no one. Tricky is one of the last truly independent, individual and distinct artists of our age.
Kinda weird, though, to hide in the shadows so much on an album that bears yr real name... Instead the ladies glow brighter in Tricky’s cavernous lair – which, mind, we approve of. But anyone expecting to catch an essence of the elusive producer via Adrian Thaws will only grab at ashes. And, eh, maybe that’s the point.
*HHV Mag (in German):*
Tricky bleibt der Formwandler, der er immer war, allerdings weiter seinem eigenen künstlerischen Selbstbildnis treu. Stillstand ist Versagen. Bewegung ist alles. (6.7 of 10)
Tricky albums of late have been met with little more than kind pats on his career’s shoulder, but underestimating Adrian Thaws would be a serious mistake.
He produces good enough music, and this is a decent album that is worth listening to. But rather than expecting a Tricky album, expect a collection produced by him.
... although it doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor, it’s still a vast improvement on his 00s output which should also help re-establish his credentials as one of the bass-heavy scene’s most intriguing mavericks.
*Sonic Seducer (in German):*
Die Vielfalt auf „Adrian Thaws“ ist aber auch die größte Schwäche des Albums, über das böse Zungen behaupten würden, Tricky habe sich verrannt. Positiv gesagt: Adrian Thaws ist ein komplexer Charakter.
*Terrorverlag (in German):*
“Adrian Thaws” kommt nicht ganz unerwartet, aber dennoch heftig. TRICKY beweist, dass er noch immer eine kapitale Größe ist und seine Gastauswahl ungeschlagen.
*Off The Tracks:*
Good enough without ever totally nailing it. Mr Consistency for the most part – and then just enough of the mad and mercurial.
Adrian Thaws is one of his most successful attempts to achieve reconciliation between the strengths of his established sound, and his need to progress as an artist. (7 of 10)
This record is a composite piece blessed with a vision and singularity that repeatedly surprises and invigorates. (4 of 5)
Restless, furiously inventive and resolutely original, Tricky shows no signs of thawing just yet.
(7 of 10)
*The Georgia State Signal:*
“Adrian Thaws” is one of the year’s most disappointing records and Tricky’s worst album to date.
The whole album is full of pleasing surprises and it feels like Tricky has been lying to us this complete time about his musical identity. (7 of 10)
*Tiny Mix Tapes:*
One of the best things about Adrian Thaws is its stubborn and unfashionable sensibility. (4,5 of 5)
* Fact Magazine:*
... It suffers from the same issues that have blighted his last few: directionless genre-hopping, unimaginative productions, and a general absence of Tricky himself. (2,5 of 5)
* Release Magazine:*
... Tricky has re-invented his musical style again, and come up with something to rival some of the best albums this year. (9 of 10)
... Tricky hat auf Adrian Thawes weder Richtung noch Ziel. Ab und an hofft man, er würde doch noch die Kurve kratzen, da kommt schon die nächste Peinlichkeit.
The Line Of Best Fit:
Twenty one years since his Mercury Prize nominated debut solo album Maxinquaye emerged, Tricky may have finally delivered one that can stand proudly equal alongside it. (8.5 of 10)
The whole thing comes off as an imaginary radio station where the DJ plays his own stuff and mixes himself into other artist's tracks, so if alternate views and unclassifiable collections are desired, isn't a lark or a side project but a necessity. (4 of 5)
Drowned In Sound:
The punchy synthpop you played with on Adrian Thawes has calcified into some perfectly sleazy gems this time, especially the Soft Cell-ish 'Here My Dear' and the bouncy, Egyptian Lover-ish 'Heroe'. Yet still you strike like a spider, laying gossamer snares first and crawling down to your prey later. (7 of 10)
Despite these mis-hits, Skilled Mechanics seethes with low-level, lo-fi menace, its spare instrumentation creating an unsettling queasiness that will have been familiar to Tricky’s admirers since 1995’s Maxinquaye. (3 of 5)
Record Collector Mag:
His best attributes are his assured rapping and his less than assured worldview, but these are like a cherished faraway radio channel, lost among the pop elements he’s allowed to crowd the dial (partly obscuring his sometimes undercooked lyrics). (2 of 5)
Musikexpress Sounds: - IN GERMAN
Zwischendurch: Knapp bekleidete Electro-Beautys, leicht verstörte Stomper, ein wenig Budenzauber aus TripHophausen, die Abmischung passt. SKILLED MECHANICS ist ein gelungener Neustart geworden, der mit eher kleinen Mitteln die Tür zu Größerem öffnet. (4 of 6)
As bare-bones as “Skilled Mechanics” is, it’s a collaborative endeavor that proves Tricky is in fine form. After a lull in the early 2000s, the man’s been on a newfound creative streak since 2008’s “Knowle West Boy.” Whether he’s on his own or with friends, let’s hope he doesn’t stop making music any time soon.
Intro: - IN GERMAN
Die Stimmung des typischen Tricky-Sounds lässt sich zumindest für Kenner seines Frühwerks noch heraushören, nur besitzt sie lange nicht mehr den Nachdruck früherer Tage. Völlig unklar bleibt auch, wohin Tricky mit »Skilled Mechanics« eigentlich will. Das weitgehend erschreckend blutleere Album lässt erahnen, dass es eigentlich nur noch aufs Altenteil sein kann. (2 of 5)
Music Is My Oxygen:
But although Skilled Mechanics doesn’t always see Tricky firing on all cylinders, it’s still another highly intriguing piece of work which suggests that he should embrace its team mentality more often.
Laut: - IN GERMAN
Gerade mal 35 Minuten braucht Tricky, um seine 13 neuen Stücke unterzubringen, da bleibt es natürlich nicht aus, dass manche Tracks einen skizzenhaften Eindruck vermitteln. Doch gerade daraus zieht "Skilled Mechanics" seine Stärke: Der alte "Hero" Tricky unterzieht sich einer Entschlackungskur, bringt verschiedene Stile zusammen und bleibt dabei immer schön kurzweilig.
It’s probably his darkest-sounding, most claustrophobic album since 1998’s Angels with Dirty Faces, although that record’s righteous, burning anger has been replaced by the slow, steady drip of implied menace. (6 of 10)
Skilled Mechanics feels like someone flung a fistful of white labels in your face at a Bristol underground show, which is a sly and conscious salute to Tricky’s own history in the British music scene. (3 of 5)
The Arts Desk:
Tricky navigates a kind of penumbra, a fertile and ever-renewing source of inspiration in which his mixed-race, gender-fluid self can re-invent itself periodically, while staying true to his roots and his unique self-taught take on the world of electronics and beats. (4 of 5)
- this review is written by Mark Kidel, who directed 'Naked and Famous' and also reviewed 'Adrian Thaws' here -
Plattentests: - IN GERMAN
Überhaupt ist "Skilled mechanics" zuweilen eine ähnliche Reise in die Vergangenheit wie der Vorgänger "Adrian Thaws": Der rollende Upbeat-Track "Hero" verweist auf Thaws' Anfänge als MC, "How's your life" und "Necessary" rekapitulieren den TripHop aus "Maxinquaye"-Zeiten, wobei sich in letzteres Stück kurz der "Adrian Thaws"-Song "Silly games" verirrt, als kleines Update quasi. (6 of 10)
Skilled Mechanics sounds too studio-ready, as if produced with unobtrusive presets to deliver trip-hop beats sans trip.
(2.8 of 5)
On his 13th studio album, Tricky translates newfound contentment into songs that fail to live up to the risk-taking example of his early work. (5.1 of 10)
Plattentests.de: - IN GERMAN
Wie immer erschaffen er und seine Gastinterpreten Musik auf qualitativ hohem Niveau, die sich gekonnt zwischen alten und neuen Ansätzen positioniert, und wie immer gelingt es ihm nicht, diese in ein kohärentes Stimmungsgefüge zu bringen. Vielleicht in den nächsten 50 Jahren. (6 of 10)
Musikblog: - IN GERMAN
Das beste Tricky Album seit Jahren entspricht gänzlich seinem Titel.
Ununiform is an uneven album at best, showing that Tricky isn't bereft of ideas but was lacking the fire to properly flesh them out. (5 of 10)
Sounds & Books: - IN GERMAN
Es ist düstere Musik für düstere Zeiten. Die Party ist vorbei. Tricky vertont den Abgesang. Eine beklemmende und doch befreiende Platte eines Überlebenden.
Musikexpress Sounds: - IN GERMAN
Tricky ist kontemplativer geworden, er findet über weite Strecken zur elektronischen Melancholie, geht auf Tuchfühlung mit seiner Geschichte, schickt im Gegenzug aber auch ein paar neue russische Rap-Freunde ans Mikro. Die Gesangspassagen hat Tricky ja immer schon anderen überlassen, gerne prominenten Verflossenen. (4 of 6)
Intro: - IN GERMAN
Natürlich ist das alles nicht neu, aber doch sehr eingängig und leicht zu mögen – musikalisch gesehen wahrscheinlich eine gegenseitige Bedingung. Dass die Produktion über jeden Zweifel erhaben ist, sei als Randnotiz noch angemerkt, insgesamt muss man aber schlicht attestieren: vielleicht das beste Tricky-Album seit »Blowback«.
Tricky plays with all sorts of genres in “ununiform”. He stays partially true to his personal dark hip-hop sound, but also ventures out into the electronic side of music, it is well balanced and shows us that Tricky is capable of creating dope material whatever the genre. (4 of 5)
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