28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Glad to See Her Back,
This review is from: Sugaring Season (Audio CD)
A lot has changed since Beth Orton's last album six years ago: she's now a wife and a mother. For all that may have changed in her life, her music is as good as it has ever been on SUGARING SEASON. Orton has all but dropped the electronic influences of her past in favor for a more mystical, roots-based brand of trippy instrumentation. The production here works wonderfully, sometimes feeling loose and relaxed, at others tense and slightly paranoid; each song is able to create a nice landscape for Orton to wander in. Songs range from the childlike "See Through Blue," the melancholy and jazzy "Something More Beautiful," the skittering and beautiful "Dawn Chorus," and the elegaic closing track "State of Grace." What shines here though, is Orton's voice. Simultaneously captivating, soulful, and trancelike, her vocals fill up every song to the brim.
The closest point of comparison I can think of is Cat Power (circa her release of THE GREATEST). The weakest point of this album is that it starts off so strongly - the second half of the album doesn't quite live up to the first; it's not as adventurous or experimental, suggesting that Orton is best when she's pushing herself creatively. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Magpie," "Dawn Chorus," and "Candles." This is a great autumn/winter record - one that you can lose yourself in for a while.