Record label: Hollywood
Release date: 26 June 2001
There are two kinds of Tricky fans: hardcore fans and Maxinquaye fans. I would daresay that most stateside Tricky fans are Maxinquaye fans, disliking everything else he's done other than (perhaps) Pre-Millenium Tension. Watching Maxinquaye fans and PMT fans arguing over which was the better album is so much fun you'll feel guilty for not having bought a ticket. Close to my heart are the Nearly God collaboration and Angels With Dirty Faces; guess that makes me a hardcore fan.
It's amazing what a change in your diet can do for your outlook on life. Seems like a chemical imbalance was caused in Adrian Thaws from eating certain foods. Now that he's feeling better, he wants the whole world to hear Blowback, his slickest production to date. The opening tracks "Excess" and "Evolution Revolution Love" kick off an album even more infectious than his debut. What's more, it's star-studded, featuring members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morrisette (who sounds nothing like her usual self on "Excess"), Ed Kowalczyk of Live, and even Cyndi Lauper. Tricky's cover of "Wonder Woman" will be the track that concertgoers clamor for, made even more fun with Flea and John Frusciante in tow. Meanwhile, Anthony Kiedis matches Tricky's delivery perfectly on "Girls." A new right hand man is also introduced - in the form of Hawkman. Unlike the often unintelligible mutterings of Brit MC Mad Dog (prominently featured on Tricky's last two releases), Hawkman's Jamaican patois is a welcome addition to cuts like "Evolution Revolution Love," "Diss Never (Dig Up We History)," and "Over Me," where Ambersunshower's chorus appearances recalls shades of Martine's sultry vocals.
With all of these different voices on Tricky's album, you'd think his own would get lost in the collaborative sauce. Thankfully, that's not the case. He makes it more than obvious whose album this is, even on a lullaby like "Your Name" where he keeps his distance vocally from the lead singer (as he used to do with Martine). "Bury The Evidence" is time set aside to vent, and his reinterpretation of Nirvana's "Something In The Way" is proof positive that he hasn't lost his creativity for production nor inventive cover tunes.
Could this be the dawn of a kinder, gentler Tricky? Quite possibly. Maxinquaye fans will be thoroughly pleased, but hardcore fans may not be so kind. As much as I dug his darker visions, I wouldn't wish a chemical imbalance on anyone. Adrian Thaws has taken his new school blues angle ("trip-hop"? you're kidding, right?) and given it a pop appeal, which will no doubt speak to a wider audience. The "Tricky Kid" has stepped out of the darkness and into a well-deserved spotlight…and it would be mad selfish of me to ask him to ruin his diet now.
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