Out 16 Aug
| The fourth album from the Bristol
trip hop master and part-time pugilist finds Tricky collaborating with
big-shot hip hop producers DJ Muggs (Cypress
Hill) and Grease from DMX. Tricky now lives in New Jersey and has recently been talking up his current drugs du jour - Prozac and Viagra.
At 1998's Glastonbury, Tricky was seemingly upset by things other than the nasty weather. Upon entering Select's backstage hospitality tent, he struck up an argument with a journalist - an argument he brought to a conclusion by kicking the writer in the head. A couple of years before this pro-am martial arts display he announced that he'd written lyrics about shooting another journalist "in the fucking face" for criticising his relationship with his daughter. Tricky later claimed it was merely idle banter: he was a musician not a thug. The Glastonbury incident, however, was followed by a series of belligerent live shows and an album, "Angels With Dirty Faces", that was so impenetrably dark that a duet with PJ Harvey ("Broken Homes") counted as light relief. The Suggestion was that he was headed for self-destruction. But, at least as far as his music goes, this couldn't have been more wrong.
'Juxtapose' is the first Tricky album since 1995's debut 'Maxinquaye' that you can sing along to in its entirety (admittedly, occasionally breaking into the vocal style of a Methedrine-fuelled Jawa). More importantly, it's also the first time he's escaped the shadow of that powerful opening gambit. For two albums Tricky hoped to outrun that album's impact by growing ever bleaker. This time, he's reached towards the light.
| Old sparring partner
and mother of Tricky's child, Martina Topley-Bird, is conspicuous by her
absence. Instead he's joined by the throatier Kioka Williams and a former
London Posse MC known as Mad Dog. Factor in expert and expansive production
assistance from Grease of East Coast rappers DMX and Cypress Hill's DJ
Muggs, and the result is warm, even inviting.
Opener 'For Real' glides along on acoustic guitar and healthy self- deprecation ("It's not real/Just passing time/it's not real/all i do is rhyme"). It's about his place in the music business, a familiar Tricky theme but one that previously only generated ire and paranoia. Now he adds wit and perspective. 'Contradictive', a compelling mix of bossa nova and yet more acoustic guitar demands that you "Reflect on life", while the closing 'Luv' declares, "It's a long time/Since I've seen love". It's a sign of the genuine tenderness at the core of 'Juxtapose', though we probably won't be seeing the Trickster getting touchy-feely with Claire Rayner just yet: Mad Dog's porno fantasy 'I Like Girls' ("Met two girls in a restaurant/Didn't know the hookers was lesbians") sees to that.
Tricky's position as one of the decade's most compelling figures now
seems assured. He's once again playing to his strengths and leaving the old
weaknesses (bloody mindedness, aversion to tunes) behind. The gloves, it
seems, really are off. 4/5
"BE A COCKY C*** WITH ME, AND I'LL BE A COCKY C*** WITH YOU"
Fighting man Tricky limbers up for another round of popular parlour
Are you living permanently in America now?
Who do you hang out with now?
The 'Angels With Dirty Faces' album got mixed reviews...
"It was just England. And that's about a guy getting knocked out at Glastonbury and about me moving off to America. That's all personal, man. They don't like too much success. People in England say I'm paranoid, da da da... People don't know fuck all about me. They know nothing about my music, even."
So what did happen last year at Glastonbury?
Something obviously did because you were reported to have hit someone...
Are you much happier now than, say, when the last album was released?
Why is that?