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Out of the Woods

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2007 Solo Disc from the Everything but the Girl Vocalist. Includes her Cover of the Pet Shop Boys "Kings Cross".

Out of the Woods is the first solo album from Tracey Thorn for over two decades. The British public probably know Thorn best as the voice of Everything but the Girl's "Missing," the Todd Terry mix of which hit No. 3 in 1994 and hung around in the Billboard Top 100 for over a year. That huge hit, however, is somewhat deceptive in the context of Thorne and her partner Ben Watt's 25-year career. Out of the Woods, like much Everything but the Girl before it, is a set of torch songs versed in the production techniques of clubland, but shot through with a melancholy soul more familiar to jazz or folk-rock--or, indeed, cosmic disco pioneer Arthur Russell, whose "Get Around to It" Thorne covers here, and all but makes it her own. Lyrically, events hint at a certain domesticity: "Nowhere Near" is a delicate song about motherhood sung over shimmering synths, piano, and pipes, while "Hands Up to the Ceiling" seems to be about finding sanctuary in a record collection, Thorne sneaking to an attic to spin "Siouxsie Sioux, and Edwin too/Bobby D, in '63." Those eager for Thorn to reprise "Missing," however, maybe be satisfied by "Grand Canyon" and the closing "Raise the Roof," two potential club hits in the waiting. –-Louis Pattison
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B000KJTCS2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,249 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
For her first solo CD since 1982's "A Distant Shore," Everything But The Girl frontwoman and the guest vocalist on scores of dance tunes Tracey Thorn has come up with a collection that is firmly rooted in her past but seldom repetitive of it.

Tracey serves notice on the opener "Here It Comes Again" that, in fact, the same old thing you might have expected from her is not coming again at all. This song is very simple and lovely, delicately sung with a beautiful string arrangement. She follows with "A-Z," a thematic modern day version of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" about escaping from "small town hell" sung with the same sort of lovely resignation the Fab Four brought to their tune. This song is also the first example on the CD of how electronica can be crafted into a very humanistic sound. This humanizing continues with the more forceful "It's All True" and the sexual come on of "Get Around To It" in which electronica meets the New Romantic poppiness of Haircut 100 which brings it heart and joy.

The rest of the CD pretty much follows the same formula with the warm vocals and wise lyrics providing a unifying threads such as the low key "Falling Off A Log" in which the singer realizes they've been in love with the wrong one and the counter-intuitive "Raise The Roof" with its "Why did I wait/don't tell me it's too late) refrain.

If you only want the Everything But The Girl Tracey Thorn skip right to "Grand Canyon" which talks about "the hole inside your heart no one can ever fill."

In my opinion, Tracey Thorn is the anti-Annie Lennox (who I love) in that whenever given the option to go over the top with her vocal performance she chooses to be underwrought, delicate, wistful and just plain lovely - all hallmarks of quality singing we don't find often in these post-Celine Dion days.

If you've been anxiously awaiting this CD for 25 years you've been richly rewarded. Except for one or two trifles it was worth the wait.
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Format: Audio CD
Tracey Thorn is a name that's virtually synonymous with quality. Her distinct voice has provided memorable focal points for Everything But The Girl and Massive Attack (not to mention others), before she disappeared from the scene for five years to raise a family.

She now returns with her first solo material in almost 25 years (since "A Distant Shore)" with the excellent "Out Of The Woods". Her prime collaborator is Ewan Pearson, whose peerless track record in contemporary clubland has led from early work for leading techno label, Soma, to his current status of remixer-du-jour for the likes of Goldfrapp and the Pet Shop Boys from his home base in Berlin.

The result is an album that stretches Thorn's vocals to exemplary effect, from the quiet, sensitive reflection of her Massive Attack era, to the more clubland-focused Everything But The Girl style.

I was a little bit worried when I heard lead single "It's All True", a song that tries to capture moments of late '70s disco and dance floor pop but which doesn't work as seamlessly as it sounds. Thorn's vocals remain enchanting but the disco, techno-tinged beats sound dated and cheesy, adding fuel to the suspicion that the whole retro vibe is starting to sound stale.

Had the rest of the album followed the same formula, it could have been a massive disappointment. Fortunately, it doesn't and "It's All True" is a rare misfire.

Opening track "Here It Comes Again" is a reflective intro built around subtle chimes and organs, and a whispered set of vocals that feel like they might fracture if you get too close. It's an enchanting introduction and a breathtaking reminder of Thorn's beautifully evocative vocals. The strings, too, work wonders.
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Tracy Thorn, the haunting voice of Everything But the Girl, delivers a nice variety of soulful ballad and inspiring dance music on her first solo album. I am more a fan of the group's acoustic offerings myself, but their version of techno (is that still even the term?) is leagues above standard club fare. "Easy" and "Grand Canyon" are standouts in that category. The wonderful climax of the second, in which she encourages a lost soul to claim his true self, urges, "This is the price for you, just look around this room: Is anybody here made out of stone? Down among the heretics, the losers and the saints, you are here among your own--you've come home, you've come home." Given the pained experience that informs most of these songs, her repeats of "You've come home" and "Everybody loves you here" ring as powerful words of welcome from someone who knows what it is to be painfully excluded as "other." Here she shares her experience as one who has come "through the woods" and encourages another to claim that self without apology, leave behind those who don't understand, and claim the motley crew that gets him.
My very favorite song on the album is the poignant and all too brief, "By Picadilly Station I Sat Down and wept." There is not a wasted word in the song, and the unresolved chord on which it ends coincides perfectly with the terrible loss in its words, "the air just seems to shiver and you're never seen again; never seen again." The understated lyrics and delivery are perfect for what could otherwise be a worn-out theme. As we all know, the emotions that come with loss are raw, despite the cliche of their typical expressions in song, and Thorn is a master at evoking them so that they feel as fresh and personal as the lived experience.
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Tracey Thorn solo
SoulStylist: I think the main reason Tracey is barely visible in her own video is that she's always been painfully shy (you can see it even when she and Ben perform live - she tends to seek the background). If you go out to on the web, you can see the entire video for "It's All... Read More
Mar 19, 2007 by Russell Evansen |  See all 6 posts
Anyone else think the final song...Raise The Roof is absolutely amazing?
This is my favourite track on the CD!

And, like you, what a perfect close to a beautiful album that's been LONG OVER DUE!!!
Mar 28, 2007 by Therobbie1 |  See all 4 posts
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