Tricky - Knowle West Boy

The cohesion of a truly great album might be lacking, but one guesses that this was more about an identity check for Tricky

Album Review by Jason Morton | 03 Jul 2008
  • Tricky
Album title: Knowle West Boy
Artist: Tricky
Label: Domino
Release date: 7 Jul

Being a Tricky Kid must be exhausting. Having helped establish the trip-hop genre, inadvertantly or otherwise, the Knowle West Boy has since spent much of his time avoiding categorisation. And while this is commendable, it has made his output a little hit-or-miss. The Bristolian's Domino debut finds the hits outweighing the misses, although keeping up with the mood swings is challenging. Tricky nails it on opener Puppy Toy, where he cuts a figure in a smokey bar as he rasps over a simple piano line. Similar in tone is the album's closer, School Gates, which has an almost bluegrass guitar picking, but the road from one to the other isn’t easy. KWB runs smoothest when the tempo slows up, see the brooding Cross to Bear, where Icelandic unknown Hafdis echoes estranged long-time collaborator Martina Topley-Bird. Pop-rock numbers like C’mon Baby and the Kylie Minogue cover Slow also work surprisingly well, though the upbeat single Council Estate seems a little underdeveloped. The cohesion of a truly great album might be lacking, but one guesses that this was more about an identity check for Tricky. [Jason Morton]

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