Tricky’s autobiography Hell Is Around The Corner was an archetypal bad boy made good story, as the man who found fame as part of Massive Attack and then cemented it with 1995’s trip-hop benchmark Maxinquaye successfully escaped the ghettoised event horizon of Bristol’s Knowle West estate. But it finished with the sort of tragedy which no parent, rich or poor, famous or not, should go through, that of losing a child, his child, Mazy at the age of 24.
Fall To Pieces is his first release since the experience and whilst the title offers a glimpse of how it might have affected his state of mind, his response has been quite the opposite, producing an album which with the recently discovered vocal foil Marta Złakowska is nearly always in possession of itself, pirouetting through the edges of techno, hip-hop, dub and on Running Off, Eastern European folk.
This is not to say that their aren’t claustrophobic moments where the singer’s grief lurks just beyond the range of audibility, opener Thinking Of is stark and smeared, but it’s Hate This Pain which feels so raw it’s almost an intrusion, a jazzy piano loop split with words that come from a wellspring of emotion few will ever be unlucky enough to have to channel.
For nearly fifty years Tricky has been unlearning how to be a product of his environment. That self taught mastery has shaped in Fall To Pieces an album not strung out on loss; Adrian Thaws remains as ever a complex and contradictory head to swim inside.
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