Fall to Pieces

Fall to Pieces

The most surprising thing about Tricky’s 14th album isn’t how dark it is (Tricky fans are used to the darkness by now), but how to the point. These are short songs, most under three minutes. And while his landmark albums had a dense, phantasmagoric quality, Fall to Pieces is clean and stripped down. The moods are still liminal: “Hate This Pain” sounds like someone murmuring through a nightmare, “Running Off” like someone trying to remember a strange old nursery rhyme. (His newest collaborator, vocalist Marta Złakowska, is perfect—eerie and innocent and seductive all at once.) But in the clarity of the sound lies a challenge: He might make the pain pretty (“I’m in the Doorway”) or even danceable (“Fall Please”), but he doesn’t let you settle into it. He’s always been a blues musician at heart, just visionary enough to avoid the blues per se. Fall to Pieces is his lonesome motel confession.

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