Pop CD: Beth Orton, Daybreaker


If Beth Orton and her career are to be judged by the strength of her collaborators, she is doing very well indeed. Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams drop by to sing on God Song; Adams and Johnny Marr have songwriting credits, while Everything But the Girl's Ben Watt and the Chemical Brothers help out on production. Yet there is a chasm at Daybreaker's heart.

God Song explains why: Harris is in especially plangent form and is an ideal foil for Adams's winning ennui; alongside them, Orton gives every impression of being a competition winner who has been allowed to galumph around in the studio for an afternoon with the celebrities. She is simply not on their level.

As a songwriter, despite the grandstanding closer Thinking About Tomorrow benefiting from William Orbit's warm remix, she specialises in the unmemorable, while lacking variety and gravitas. For the most part, Orton bumbles along in monotone fashion, flashing fleeting reminders of Sandy Denny on OK, but failing to resuscitate her flat, moribund songs.


John Aizlewood

The GuardianTramp

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