Back in the 1990s, Beth Orton gained a rep as the comedown queen: her folksy music boasted an electronic edge and her involvement with Heavenly’s dance crew – she collaborated with the Chemical Brothers – ensured that her music could serve as a gentle passage back to reality. Since that heyday she has pursued more traditional singer-songwriter territory, but Kidsticks is a real reinvention: not so much a return to her electronic roots as a bold exploration of fresh territory. A collaboration with Fuck Buttons’ Andrew Hung, this sixth solo album embraces inventive rhythm patterns, tsunamis of synth and, on 1973, the metronomic influence of Kraftwerk. Dawnstar is particularly dreamy, a giant cloud of a song to lose yourself in. Such a radical redesign should be imposing, yet Orton’s vocals – plaintive and soulful as ever – still take centre stage.
Beth Orton: Kidsticks review – radical reinvention is as dreamy as ever