TRICKY: Knowle West Boy (Domino Recording Co.)


Posted on Jul 17th 2008 12:53 am

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Tricky: Knowle West Boy

Knowle West Boy
Domino Recording Co. 2008
13 Tracks. 46mins22secs

Trapped between the paranoid atmospheres and claustrophobic beats that have become his own doomed musical universe on one side and his need to escape toward more accessible grounds, Tricky has been looking for a fresh way to express himself for some time. Knowle West Boy is not quite the flamboyant renaissance that he deserves, as the recent rock-infused single Council Estate attests, but there is definitely a renewed fever running throughout and it contributes to this album feeling more focused than the lacklustre Juxtapose or Vulnerable for instance.

Tricky is the Knowle West Boy. This is in this poor and deprived area of Bristol that Adrian ‘Tricky Kid’ Thaws was born and raised, but Knowle West is also a part of Bristol where multiculturalism thrives, and this album, Tricky’s most eclectic to date, owes a lot to this.

Knowle West Boy still partly suffers from some of the faults of its predecessors, but Tricky manages the multiple influences that feed his music much better than before, and balances serious and lighter moments with grace. While album opener Puppy Toy, with its sleazy groove and cheeky mood unsettles right from the word go, Bacative, which follows, or Baligaga later on, show that Tricky has lost nothing of his flair for contemporary beats, and on Joseph, the music turns all subdued and elegant when he brings in some soothing orchestral vibes. But, as Council Estate, Coalition or the haunting and true story of teenage pregnancy of closing track School Gates demonstrate, Tricky is a man who has things to say, and he says them point blank. On the later, and even more so on Past Mistake before it, the Tricky of old, with its shadowy groove and heavy atmosphere, is revived and delivers two of the stand out tracks here.

Elsewhere, while the rather catchy Veronika has Tricky turning all pop and (almost) light-hearted, there are some forgettable moments here, namely the electrified novelty version of Kylie Minogue’s Slow or the more questionable pseudo electro/electric Far Away, Knowle West Boy is a much more satisfying record than any he has produced in the last ten years.


Tricky | Domino Recording Co.
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