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Temperamental

176 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 28, 1999
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Temperamental + Walking Wounded + Amplified Heart
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Temperamental is ample evidence of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn's continuing evolution from an acoustic-guitar-based pair of comfortably suburban love griots to acoustically accomplished soundscape explorers who still have a weakness for a pleading melody. After Todd Terry's remix of "Missing" (from Amplified Heart) revitalized the duo, Watt took the opportunity to open their sound up to the clubs, all the while managing to retain the sense of warmth against which so much anonymously ironic dance music actively rebels. In doing so, Watt managed to create a bed of music that mirrors and complements Thorn's impossibly expressive, flat vocals. Though it carries EBTG's sound farther away from their deep roots, a good half of the songs on Temperamental still sound right at home next to their earlier acoustic work ("Hatfield 1980," "Low Tide of the Night," and "Lullaby of Clubland," which straddles the gap)--and those that don't ("Blame," the instrumental "Compression") are more than enjoyable on their own terms. --Randy Silver


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic Mod Afw
  • ASIN: B00001QENY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,949 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By 34-year old wallflower on April 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
In the early 1980s, American music was hit by a sort of second British Invasion. Instead of bringing rock and pop, the Brits brought new wave and techno. Not surprisingly, a great deal of these bands had only one or a few hits, then vanished (anyone remember Haircut 100?). Others like Duran Duran and the Police (or at least Sting in his solo career) still manage to maintain some of the following they originally started off with, and if possible, continue to win new fans. One band that fits into the latter category is the duo of Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt: Everything But The Girl. Although they have been releasing albums since 1984, it took more than a decade for Everything But The Girl to receive the recognition that was their due. Then in 1995, "Missing", a song off their AMPLIFIED HEART (1994) album was given a dance remix. After an astonishing 28 weeks on the charts, the song finally reached its peak of #2. After coming up with a follow-up to AMPLIFIED HEART with 1996's WALKING WOUNDED, Thorn and Watt took a break. They have since come up with probably their finest album ever in TEMPERAMENTAL. Before they hit it big with the dance version of "Missing", Everything But The Girl had sort of an acoustic, jazz-based sound that was the perfect vehicle for Tracy Thorn's sultry voice. Since then, most of what they have released has been tailored for the dance clubs, and TEMPERAMENTAL is no exception. The album opens with the deceptively upbeat "Five Fathoms". At first listen, this sounds like a re-recording of "Missing". But this song is representative of what is contained on TEMPERAMENTAL. At six and a half minutes, it's one of the longest songs on the album. The other nine are also quite lengthy, with only one song under four minutes. Next comes the R&B groove of "Low Tide Of The Night".Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stribley on April 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
EBTG's last album Walking Wounded must rate as one of the 90s' top-ten cruising CDs. If, like mine, your copy's suffered from ricocheting around the front seat of the Honda, never fear, a back-up's available: Temperamental. But the new EBTG album isn't just WWII; it's a continued journey into a trippier, more electronic sound for the group-and, with Tracey Thorn's lovely, haunting vocals leading the way, it's a journey through darkened streets and late-nite London nightscapes.
"Low Tide of the Night," "Blame," "Hatfield 1908," and "The Future of the Future" are all lovely tunes, but in "Lullaby of Clubland," when Tracey sings plaintively, swaddled in the gurgle of nocturnal dance music, "I'm on the dark side of the street, not the light side of the street; It's packed at 2 a.m.; I've got no coat; Are you on your own? When are you going home?" your heart will break along with her voice at the beauty and loneliness of the song.
"I'm not immune; I love this tune," she sings on "Fathoms Five," the album's first single. I found Temperamental's elegant come-down beats catching too. - Robert Stribley
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bill Cooper on December 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
After a long, successful career (in Europe, anyway), it seemed Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt had run out of steam with the bland jazz/pop of "The Language of Life" and especially "Worldwide," albums that made Kenny G sound like Roni Size. So it came as a pleasant surprise that they would go on to release three of the finest albums of the decade..."Amplified Heart, "Walking Wounded," and now "Temperamental."
After the Todd Terry remix of the "Amplified" single "Missing" became an enormous success, and perhaps inspired by Tracey Thorn's brilliant collaboration with Massive Attack on their "Protection" album, EBTG turned its attention to the dance floor. "Walking Wounded" was one of the best albums of 1996, and "Temperamental" offers more of the same. It kicks off with the fabulous "Five Fathoms," while Tracey Thorn's exquisite vocals soar over Ben Watt's groovy beats on ballads like "Low Tide of the Night" and "No Difference." "Temperamental" is not ballad-heavy, however...."Five Fathoms" has already become a huge hit in the clubs, while "Blame" has the potential to do the same. Although the album does contain one dud (the unnecessary instrumental track "Compression" could really have used Tracey Thorn's vocal to lift it above the ordinary), "Temperamental" is an absolute treasure. (As a bonus, the album also contains "The Future of the Future," EBTG's masterful collaboration with Deep Dish.)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Grant on December 31, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The release of "Walking Wounded" in 1996 witnessed a completely new sound for EBTG - one which spurned their earlier jazz sound while reveling in techno dance music. It was an odd switch, one which shocked many of the group's fans (including yours truly).
EBTG's first two albums - a 1984 self-titled LP and "Love Not Money" in 1985 - were sweet, jazz-infused treasures. LPs released in the later 80s and early 90s, however, revealed a more heavily polished musical style, culminating with the abysmal "Language of Life" in 1990. As with many things it touches, Hollywood over-produced this album, which (thankfully) marked the end of EBTG's cloying late-80s lite jazz phase. ("Idlewild," released in 1988, is the stand-out exception in this "middle period" - it's a real gem).
In any event, "Temperamental" continues EBTG's exploration into the world of late-night club music. Don't let anyone tell you differently - it's a wonderful album. The band is clearly having *a lot* of fun making this music, and their energy and enthusiasm shines through on all the tracks. Tracey's liquid voice still sounds as great as ever as it seemingly coats the songs' haunting melodies with a cool sublimity (face it - this woman could sing about laundry detergent and make it sound good).
That said, some tracks are more successful than others. I particularly like the ones that feature the big, juicy, thumping base - Five Fathoms, Lullaby of Clubland, and the final cut, The Future of the Future. Sometimes the music and the singing don't quite mesh (hence my four-star review), but I have a feeling such quirks will iron themselves out in the band's next release.
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