Comfort Of Strangers
Beth Orton's fourth album is a return to basics, with a pared-back sound her fans will love and anyone with an ear for singer/songwriters will appreciate. There's little that's overly exciting or innovative, but it does contain an inherent beauty in its simplicity that is common to Orton's work. As far as standout tracks, the title song is particularly emotive, while Pieces of Sky and Shadow Of A Doubt are two of the liveliest numbers; otherwise the album meanders along, carried by the chanteuse's brilliant and distinctive vocals Ã¢Â€Â“ perfect music for reflection, reminiscing or just plain drinking. The instrumentation throughout is flawless, with assistance from Jim O'Rourke of Sonic Youth fame and guitarist John Fahey. Performed live this album would undoubtedly be something special, but with such a multitude of female singer/songwriters out there this album doesn't do an incredible amount to distinguish itself from the pack. [Xavier Toby]
This album is out now.