Tricky | Knowle West Boy

Domino (2008)
By RICHARD BECK  |  October 8, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
tricky_insi67de.jpg
Who's not glad to have Tricky around? In 1995, he helped conjure trip-hop into existence with his classic debut, Maxinquaye. Ever since, his complex, wary cynicism has been a unique voice in black music, mutating and diversifying its way out of easy categorization. Knowle West Boy is a survey of Tricky’s sonic versatility — straightforward rock and oppressive, moody atmospherics all have a home here — and it is frequently gorgeous. “Coalition” illuminates a particular sort of 21st-century isolation like little else I’ve heard. As the beat marches ominously, a cello, played in light touches, floats in and out of the foreground, urging Tricky’s fevered rhymes on before leaving the scene. Gender, politics, religion, class, and race all speak across one another throughout the album, but Tricky refuses to settle, refuses to inhabit one identity rather than another.
Related: Puracane | I've Been Here the Longest, Slideshow: Tricky at the Roxy, What's F'n Next? Poliça, More more >
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