Review: Tracey Thorn – Love And Its Opposite

It took twenty five years for Tracey Thorn to make her second album so taking a mere three years for the third is relative prolific. In between times Thorn has married her long term songwriting partner Ben Watt after nearly thirty years as a couple but if you’re expecting a record celebrating wedded bliss, think again.

‘Oh, The Divorces!’ is the reavealing opening gambit and one which sets the tone for an insight in to growing old and for ‘Long White Dress’, the titular article is seen as something to fear. This is no mid-life crisis record though. ‘Kentish Town’ possesses a comforting kind of melancholy rather an oppressive one, ‘Hormones’ must be one of the most sonically upbeat songs of her career and ‘Singles Bar’ is funny and almost brutally honest (“To numb all the pain I’ve endured, I lay on my back for a Hollywood Wax”).

In a marked contrast to the rest of the record, ‘Why Does The Wind?’ proves she can still deliver dancefloor numbers, albeit of the yearning variety. Yet it’s towards the end of the record where Thorn shows her best form. On a cover of Lee Hazelwood’s ‘Come Home To Me’ she teams up with Jens Lekman to create a chilling and stunning highlight, then ‘Swimming’ is a full-blown, hopeful yet understated finale.

Thorn deserves great credit for making such an emotionally honest record and it’s the kind which – excuse the term – “grown ups” should be making. On a more important level though, its themes are backed up by a likeable selection of songs which features that distinctive voice still in great form. 

Web Sites:
Tracey Thorn Official Site
Tracey Thorn MySpace

Further Listening:
Everything But The Girl, A Girl Called Eddy

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