ALBUM OF THE WEEK #1: Tricky - Fall To Pieces (False Idols)
The trip-hop vet sounds inspired on his 14th album which brings fresh elements to his signature sound.
“I feel like I’m back,” Tricky says of his new album Fall To Pieces. “I feel like I'm one of the best musicians England's ever had, and it’s time for me to focus on music again, 100%, like how I used to do at the beginning. That competitive thing I used to have when I was younger, like, my music is on a different level that’s how I feel again now."
Tricky has been back for a while, as far as I'm concerned. After losing me for most of the '00s, I've liked pretty much everything he's done this decade, especially since finding vocalist Marta, his best collaborator since Martina Topley-Bird in the '90s. She seems to bring out the best in him, and Fall to Pieces, his 14th album, features some inspired production that brings fresh sonic elements to his distinct sound. "Fall Please," which Tricky says is the closest he's ever come to pop, is especially great, with a shuffle beat, subtle guitar, layers of keyboards and a mesmerizing vocal from Marta. Even without his whispered voice, it's clearly a Tricky song but feels very new. Almost as good, but with a different vibe is "Chills Me to the Bone," a dark number that alternates between manic industrial synths and clanks, and dark, sultry R&B driven by subtle strings.
Fall to Pieces is an especially heavy record, as it's the first he's made since losing Mazy Mina, his daughter with Martina Topley-Bird, who died last year at age 24. Tricky has said in interviews he made this album as a way to deal with the grief, and some songs, like "Thinking Of" and "Hate This Pain" are clearly about his daughter's death. The latter is particularly gripping, the only song on the album where Tricky takes lead vocal, as he lets it all out over a chopped up bit of blues piano: "Was crying, endless coast / Baby girl, she knew me most." Even some of the lighter sounding songs, like the bouncing "I'm in the Doorway," one of two songs on the album to feature vocals by Oh Land, feel weighed down by loss.
If the album suffers from anything, it's brevity. The lion's share of the songs are under three minutes and many are under two. Both "Fall Please" and "Chills Me to the Bone" peace out just when you're getting into the groove. Maybe the circumstances made for a world that Tricky didn't want to linger in, but for the listener, we could fall just a little longer.