Angels With Dirty Faces (Island)
Trip-hop's wild card goes heavy on the atmospherics on his third disc, employing whispered vocals and superintentive beats to delve into weighty topics like racism. His inverted loops are charmingly askew, his sense of drama powerful without being heavy-handed. Songs like "Broken Homes" and "Singing the Blues" attain a hypnotic beauty that's mournful without being mopey. Tricky also deserves props for covering the Slick Rick hip-hop classic "The Moment I Feared." His version is a bit of a denouement, though: A frenetic jungle track over which Tricky's phlegmatic cockney-sounding mutterings more or less make it impossible to decipher Rick's hilarious lyrics. Flawes but consistently original, Angels With Dirty Faces offers a lesson to all would-be meat-makers: beat your own path, or beat it.
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