The next 10: Beth Orton, Comfort of Strangers

Minimalist collection does pop's favourite chilled folkie few favours

The ragdoll lad-ess who was the poster girl for Nineties folktronica has now pared her sound with the aid of producer Jim O'Rourke. What's not to like about a little mellow soul-searching? Two weeks in a small analogue studio were all it took to create this lean and clean collection of girl-and-her-guitar/girl-at-the-piano singer-songs. The problem is just how limited the minimalism reveals Orton to be: melodically she's humdrum, while the narrow range of her Judie Tzuke-meets-Annie Lennox timbre - along with the slumming-it phrasing - often simply irritates.

Barney Hoskyns

The GuardianTramp

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