15 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the 1990s, vocalist Martina Topley Bird appeared on a string of striking albums — including the ground-breaking Maxinquaye — by the British recording artist known as Tricky. In 2003, she released her first solo effort, Quixotic, which received high critical praise, and followed that up with 2008’s The Blue God, which was produced by Dangermouse. Her third album, Some Place Simple, is a stripped-down affair and it’s excellent. Working with Fergus Gerrand, she presents a set of 15 songs, several of which are new versions of material from her previous albums. On the opener, “Baby Blue,” Topley Bird is sparely accompanied by ukulele, celesta, and tambourine, keeping the focus on the appealing melody. (Even when she tosses something off, like “Da Da Da,” a brief track with wordless vocalizing, her gift for melody and structure is clear.) Topley Bird deftly rides an intriguing slice of jazzy prog on “Orchids,” while haunted-house keyboards mark “Snowman,” which features a variety of vocal colors. The album closes with a pair of short pieces: the tender and funny “Kiss Kiss Kiss,” and an instrumental variation called “Harpsichord Kiss.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the 1990s, vocalist Martina Topley Bird appeared on a string of striking albums — including the ground-breaking Maxinquaye — by the British recording artist known as Tricky. In 2003, she released her first solo effort, Quixotic, which received high critical praise, and followed that up with 2008’s The Blue God, which was produced by Dangermouse. Her third album, Some Place Simple, is a stripped-down affair and it’s excellent. Working with Fergus Gerrand, she presents a set of 15 songs, several of which are new versions of material from her previous albums. On the opener, “Baby Blue,” Topley Bird is sparely accompanied by ukulele, celesta, and tambourine, keeping the focus on the appealing melody. (Even when she tosses something off, like “Da Da Da,” a brief track with wordless vocalizing, her gift for melody and structure is clear.) Topley Bird deftly rides an intriguing slice of jazzy prog on “Orchids,” while haunted-house keyboards mark “Snowman,” which features a variety of vocal colors. The album closes with a pair of short pieces: the tender and funny “Kiss Kiss Kiss,” and an instrumental variation called “Harpsichord Kiss.”

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